US Governor visits Austal’s WA headquarters

Austal's sweet home Alabama

An official visit by the Governor of Alabama to Austal’s Western Australian shipyard has underlined the mutually-beneficial relationship that exists between the two parties, the Australian shipbuilder said.

Austal said the visit by Governor Bob Riley allowed it to recognise the State of Alabama’s support during the establishment of the company’s US shipyard, which over the past 10 years has grown to become the largest aluminium shipyard in the world.

The facility, located in Mobile, Alabama, currently employs around 1000 workers and is responsible for building the largest-ever aluminium ferry in the US, said Austal. The shipyard has recently commenced construction on the second 127-metre Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) for the US Navy while preparing for sea trials on the first LCS, as well as finalising detailed design prior to construction on the first of 10 103m Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSV) for the US Department of Defense.

Austal managing director, Bob Browning said the State of Alabama’s continued efforts to attract business by offering a range of financial incentives had significantly contributed to Austal USA’s establishment.

“I wish to formally thank Governor Bob Riley for his ongoing support of Austal Ltd and applaud the State’s efforts to attract new business to the region,” said Browning.

“This support has played a key role in Austal’s decision to establish our facility in Alabama, creating a significant number of new jobs, which in turn has obvious benefits for the community of Mobile,” he said.

Since Austal USA’s establishment in 1999, it said the State of Alabama has contributed more than $US10 million in exchange for the company creating significant employment and training opportunities within the community.

Austal said recently the State of Alabama provided Austal USA with $US5 million to assist with the construction of a new state-of-the-art Modular Manufacturing Facility (MMF). Due for completion in coming months, the MMF will see further job growth at Austal USA and will be supported by the construction of a State-funded 5570m2 training facility, two-thirds of which Austal USA will have exclusive use.

Governor Riley commented: “The people of our State have benefitted tremendously from the partnership we've forged between Alabama and Austal.

“Austal is a world-class company that has created more than 1000 jobs in Alabama. My visit to the company's headquarters helps promote and strengthen that partnership," he said.

Austal said the visit by Governor Riley included a tour of its WA headquarters, after which he was presented with a commemorative gift in appreciation of his ongoing support.

Photo: Alabama Governor Bob Riley (centre) tours Austal’s WA facilities with Austal COO Peter Hogan (left) and managing director Bob Browning.