Hosted at the Cruising Yacht Club, overlooking Cockburn Sound and Garden Island, the breakfast meeting was filled to capacity with more than one hundred business people, predominantly from the local area, keen to participate in defence projects.
Mayor Barry Sammels gave an overview of the long and productive connection between Navy and the City over nearly forty years.
Special guest speaker Rear Admiral Jonathon Mead, Head of Navy Capability, made the trip from Canberra specifically for this presentation. He outlined the key elements of the nation’s biggest shipbuilding program since the Second World War, saying it was a catalyst for a fundamental change to Australia’s strategic, economic and industrial landscape.
The Rear Admiral explained how HMAS Stirling on Garden Island will be a key player in these developments, as the strategic importance of the Indian Ocean receives an increasing share of the Australian Defence Force’s planning attention.
He emphasised the importance of working in partnership with local governments. “We’re all in this together” he said, “and we’re looking forward to building and maintaining strong relationships with local communities”.
Mayor Sammels said, “This really is an exciting time to be associated with the Navy. The City of Rockingham is ideally situated adjacent to the largest naval base in Australia, and it’s only going to get bigger as the number and tonnages of vessels stationed there increase. With our proximity to the base, and the Western Trade Coast and the shipbuilding facilities of Henderson, there’s no better place for businesses to invest in their defence-related activities than right here.”
The base currently injects approximately $100 million in wages, and some $15 million in contract work, into the local and state economy per annum.
Photo: (L-R) Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead, AM, RAN, City Of Rockingham Mayor Barry Sammels, and the commanding officer of HMAS Stirling, Captain Brian Delamont, RAN, at the City's Business Leaders' Breakfast, 17 May 2016.