Defence and industry to collaborate on future of marine support services

HMA Ships Adelaide and Toowoomba sail in company in the Pacific Ocean during Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2018. Source: Navy

The Department of Defence has invited Australian companies to have their say on how marine support services should be delivered in the future.

Minister for Defence Industry, Christopher Pyne, has announced the release of a Request for Information for the Defence Marine Support Services (DMSS) Program.

The program includes services such as tugs for port movements, harbour refuelling, transport services between ships, stores and personnel transfer and aviation training.

The program is initially valued at $83 million annually over the next five years but is expected to increase over time as further services across Defence, and potentially other government agencies, are considered for inclusion.

Minister Pyne said this innovative approach will allow Australian defence industry to work together to develop creative contracting options to enable capability delivery at sea.

“This is about thinking outside the square to deliver a long-term and flexible solution for Defence and industry.

“Instead of just contracting one large prime to do all the work, perhaps the best option is engaging multiple smaller companies,” Minister Pyne said.

It’s expected more than 287 jobs will be created across Australia in major ports and Defence establishments such as Sydney, Darwin, Cairns and Perth.

“It will also provide a sustainable ongoing business model for industry and provide taxpayers value for money.”

“We know from experience contracts entered into now may not be fit-for-service in the future.”

Once options have been received, Defence will work with industry to develop a contracting model which ensures support services remain up-to-date.

“This approach will shape a new way of doing business to ensure marine support services are adaptive to evolving requirements.”

The DMSS Program will commence in 2021 and will initially deliver marine support to Navy’s fleet in ports across Australia, including supporting exercises, operations and workforce training.