The West Australian, 24 March 2017
Fear of missing out has led smaller businesses in WA’s maritime hub to band together to target work from the $89 billion naval shipbuilding program.
At least 14 companies plan to join the Henderson Alliance to ensure the big defence contractors are not the only ones to benefit from the vessel contracts.
IKAD Engineering managing director Ivan Donjerkovich has been overwhelmed by interest from industry counterparts in Henderson, home to the Australian Marine Complex.
The Federal Government has mandated that 10 offshore patrol vessels will be built in WA.
Work is also expected to flow to Perth from the South Australia-based $50 billion submarine and $35 billion future frigate programs.
But members of the newly formed group fear much of the work will be concentrated at the Henderson operations of Austal, Civmec and BAE Systems.
“The guys out in the back streets here, the smaller boys, we’ll be fighting for whatever crumbs they give us,” Mr Donjerkovich said.
“Us smaller guys need to get smarter. How can we be positive and … get a slice of the action.”
He said by working together the contractors could combine their skills and achieve the commercial scale the prime contractors required.
The alliance would also promote its policies and views to the State and Federal governments, and key industry bodies such as the CCI WA Defence Industry Council and the Australian Industry and Defence Network.