Australia’s naval ship repair sector will be reformed to help deliver better results for the navy and more certainty for the defence industry, according to Australian Defence Minister Greg Combet.

Speaking at Pacific 2010, Combet said that these reforms would lead to greater certainty in the naval ship repair sector allowing for increased investment and better performance.

“Defence enjoys savings in its sustainment budget and industry gains certainty that allows it to develop its workforce and infrastructure,” he said.

As part of the newly announced reforms, the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) will reform the navy’s major fleet unit repair and maintenance programme.

Combet said the principal element of the reform programme was the establishment of long-term performance-based contracts for repair and maintenance activities instead of awarding a contract under a panel arrangement for each and every maintenance activity.

“These reforms will lead to the batching of our requirements and affect the maintenance and repair of the major fleet units including the eight Anzac Class frigates, the four Adelaide Class frigates, the two amphibious landing ships and the heavy landing ship.

“In addition, the new maintenance concepts will be extended to new ship classes such as the air warfare destroyers and the landing helicopter dock ships when they are introduced.

“The Australian Government spends $150m annually on major surface ship repair and maintenance, and we are expecting significant savings from this reform.”

The initiative, which aims to provide more certainty for workforce planning and investment in dockyard infrastructure, has been accepted by major ship repairers BAE Systems and Thales Australia.

The DMO is examining on how the contracts will come together, and will release further details on the strategy in 2011.