Australian Department of Defence has engaged an Indigenous-owned enterprise to deliver a project worth up to $6 million supporting Navy’s Canberra class amphibious assault ships, in what is a first for a Commonwealth Government construction contract.
Minister for Defence David Johnston and Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister Alan Tudge today announced that Pacific Services Group Holdings Pty Ltd has been appointed as the Head Contractor for the works, which will refurbish existing marine infrastructure and buildings at HMAS Waterhen in Sydney in preparation for the Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) 12 Landing Craft.
“This is a noteworthy milestone for Defence and the Government more broadly as it represents a significant step forward on the Prime Minister’s path to practical reconciliation,” Senator Johnston said.
Defence used an exemption under the Commonwealth Procurement Rules, which encourages contracts with small to medium enterprises with at least 50 percent Indigenous ownership, to engage Pacific Services Group Holdings.
Under the exemption, an Indigenous Small to Medium Enterprise can be directly engaged without the need to conduct a full tender process, on the condition the procurement represents value for money.
Parliamentary Secretary Alan Tudge commended Defence for taking a leadership role in supporting Indigenous business.
“Contracting Indigenous businesses is one of the best ways government and corporate Australia can support Indigenous advancement,” Mr Tudge said.
“Not only does it encourage entrepreneurship, but Indigenous businesses are 100 times more likely to employ Indigenous people.”
The LHD Landing Craft will serve as critical ship-to-shore connectors for the multi-billion dollar LHD ships, which in turn will be central to the Australian Defence Force’s amphibious capability once commissioned into Royal Australian Navy service.
Construction is expected to commence in June 2014 and be completed by early 2015.
Press Release, June 19, 2014; Image: www.hmascanberra.com