August 11, 2011
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The Australian Ministry of Defence has released a request for proposal for the disposal of 12 000 surplus Army vehicles and trailers as part of the nation’s biggest military disposal drive since the Second World War.
..over the next ten years the Defence Force will dispose of up to 24 ships; up to 70 combat aircraft; up to 110 other aircraft; up to 120 helicopters; up to 600 armoured vehicles; up to 12 000 other vehicles; and a variety of communications systems, weapons and explosive ordnance.
..the first opportunity for the Australian defence industry was the release of a Request for Proposal for the disposal of up to 24 Navy ships across the coming decade, including the HMAS Manoora amphibious ship (decommissioned this year), Adelaide Class frigates and Mine Hunters.
Request for Proposals for the HMAS Manoora will close on September 15 this year while submissions for all other ships will close on October 14.
Clearly our government has a massive disposal dilemma on their hands. The HMAS Adelaide scuttling cost Australian taxpayers in excess of $10 million. The comparatively small tourism revenue being generated from the wreck is concentrated in a handful of dive businesses and exposed the government to serious public liability risk.
In July 2010 David Coyle, who oversaw the scuttling preparation work for exHMAS Adelaide, confirmed that the vessel still contained approx 200 tonnes of aluminium and 2840 tonnes of steel. Simms Metals estimated the scrap value at that time was $771 200. Click here to read this report.
Since then demand for these precious resources has surged and developed countries such as the U.S., Belgium, U.K. and Canada are capitalising on the opportunity to salvage the valuable scrap by establishing sophisticated ship breaking yards.
Will the Australian government recognise this chance to establish a lucrative recycling industry creating jobs and eliminating waste? Or will they continue with the same archaic disposal methods that were used after WW1 when obsolete military equipment was just dumped in our beautiful ocean?