Cairns needs this…FEDERAL MP Warren Entsch is putting pressure on his ministerial colleagues to make a decision on the $2 billion Pacific class patrol boat tender before a federal election is called.
He is lobbying the relevant ministers to announce the preferred tenderer soon.
The Member for Leichhardt has rejected suggestions the announcement will be delayed until after the election – yet to be called – with July mooted.
“I am doing everything in my power to make sure a final decision is made soon and I will do everything in my power to make sure it is in Cairns,” he said.
The Cairns Solution consortium is a front runner for the build and ongoing service program but faces competition from Western Australia.
Mr Entsch said he believed an announcement would be made soon after Attorney-General George Brandis visited Cairns in coming days to inspect two of the consortium’s shipyards at Portsmith.
“We are very close to a decision being made,” he said.
Mr Entsch said even if an election was called for July he was confident the announcement would be made before then. He said he had made it clear to MPs that the government should not be seen to be delaying announcements or making key decisions during pre-election speculation.
A senior Queensland minister has applied the blow torch in Canberra to push the case for Cairns.
State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham met Defence Materiel Minister Dan Tehan on Tuesday to highlight the city’s shipbuilding capability.
“Queensland is home to a quarter of the Australian Defence Force and I was in Canberra to tell the Minister for Defence Materiel Dan Tehan why Far North Queensland should be a major player in naval shipbuilding,” he said.
“The Cairns shipyards are Australia’s largest and most capable patrol boat hub.”
The Cairns consortium, which includes Norship Marine and BSE Maritime Solutions, and a West Australian proposal are the final two contenders for a contract to build and support replacement Pacific-class patrol boats.
“The Pacific patrol boat replacement contract would give local industry leverage into the future submarine, frigate and offshore vessels,” Dr Lynham said.
NICK DALTON -CAIRNS POST STORY
PIC ANNA ROGERS