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Newcastle, Australia to be revitalised with new maritime hub

The New South Wales (NSW) government in Australia announced on 29 June the availability of funding to renew the Fitzroy Street shipyard slipway to reactivate the Port of Newcastle and the Hunter as a major marine ship repair and maintenance precinct.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW, John Barilaro, said defence company Thales Australia will begin stage one of a phased redevelopment of the site, creating an additional 70 new jobs.

“This ship repair operation for a nationally significant facility will revitalise the Hunter’s proud maritime heritage and restore the port as a maritime hub,” Barilaro said. “The slipway upgrade will allow the port to handle bigger ships, attract skilled tradespeople back to the region, and ensure naval maintenance work stays in NSW.”

Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair said Thales Australia’s plan closely aligns with the NSW government’s Defence and Industry Strategy to build on NSW defence capabilities: “This will be a major boost for our defence and industry sector. Thales expects to grow local subcontractor industries to support its maritime operations in the region. The Fitzroy Street site will support ship docking, [and] repair and maintenance work, as well as engineering, deeper-level repairs and maintenance.”

Parliamentary Secretary for Planning, the Central Coast and the Hunter, Scot MacDonald, said the project is a big win for the region: “Phase one of the proposed redevelopment involves the repair of the Fitzroy Street slipway to allow for ship repairs and maintenance on vessels from 20m to 55m in length and up to 1,000 metric ton displacement. This will position NSW as a leader in maritime maintenance and drive economic growth in the Hunter.”

Thales Australia CEO Chris Jenkins said the company has a long-term vision to establish

a lasting ship repair and maintenance facility. “Thales has successfully conducted ship maintenance, repairs and upgrades for defence and commercial vessels for over 26 years at Garden Island,” Jenkins said. “Thales’s heritage in marine maintenance and sustained engagement with local businesses puts us in a unique position to reactivate the site, creating a new East Coast marine precinct at the Port of Newcastle.”

Port of Newcastle CEO Geoff Crowe said the project will help grow and diversify the port

and build on its rich history of ship building and repair: “The Port of Newcastle welcomes Thales’s expanded presence, which fits well with our Port Development Plan and will benefit local skills, jobs and the wider economy.”

- July 2017

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