The French Government has again expressed its eagerness to move forward with Australia and South Australian to maximise industry and job opportunities arising from the $89 billion Future Naval Shipbuilding contracts, announced in April.
Defence Industries Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith met the French President Francois Hollande and French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian at a French Defence Ministry event in Paris yesterday, held on the eve of French Bastille Day celebrations.
The event for French and international defence personnel, government and industry members, was an opportunity to promote South Australia as the ‘Defence State’ with advanced manufacturing and defence capabilities.
Attraction and development of maritime systems, science and technology capabilities are core pillars of the South Australia Defence Strategy 2015 -2025 and an important step in the transformation of the South Australian economy toward high end, advanced manufacturing and high tech jobs for young South Australians.
Having run a sustained and successful campaign to secure a continuous shipbuilding program for South Australia, the task of maximising the many economic benefits is now underway.
This includes efforts to significantly lift South Australia’s defence-related activity, helping the sector maximise the multi-billion dollar Offshore Patrol Vessel, Future Frigates and Future Submarine contracts now and in the future.
While in France the Minister will also meet with the key government officials in Brittany to discuss French defence military procurement strategies. He will also meet representatives of Thales, a global firm with capabilities across defence and commercial sectors including rail, maritime, land, communications, aerospace and cyber security.
A central aim of the mission will be to meet with GICAN (Groupement des Industries de Construction et Activites Navales), an industry group representing 500 maritime and naval companies and organiser of the Euronaval Trade Exhibition, held in France every two years, as South Australia prepares to launch a major government and industry presence at Euronaval 2016 in October.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Defence Industries Martin Hamilton-Smith
It was an honour to have been invited to the Bastille Day defence sector reception by the French President and Defence Minister. They were very welcoming and signaled to me their strong personal interest in the South Australian submarine project.
They are both very much looking forward to moving forward with the project and the industry opportunities it represents.
I also had long discussions with senior Australian defence officials, including Vice Admiral and Vice Chief of the Defence Force Ray Griggs, about the ship building program.
The state’s relationship building and meetings with key players in coming days including in with senior government officials in the Brittany region, as well as our involvement in high level events such as Euronaval later his year, will ensure we are not only ready for the projects already secured, but that we are also ready to continue as the nation’s hub of naval shipbuilding activity well into the future.
Now that the contracts are won, the work begins to showcase our industry to a global audience and ensure we are on the front foot to maximise opportunities for South Australia’s involvement in these strategic projects.
We are already home to a number of key international defence companies and our intention is to attract even more companies to invest in industry.