State Cabinet today met at Techport Australia to see firsthand critical areas earmarked for expansion and upgrading ahead of the commencement of $88 billion worth of naval shipbuilding contracts in 2018.
Cabinet was briefed on a new $1 million master plan for the site, which will help fast-track infrastructure projects at Osborne and help achieve maximum local economic benefit.
Today’s site tour highlighted significant expansion opportunities including:
- additional land for shipbuilding activity, warehousing and land-based test facilities;
- Common User Facility (CUF) expansion to provide additional dry berths, wharf space and associated services;
- a 20 metre-wide transfer corridor connecting the shipbuilding expansion areas, CUF expansion area and Outer Harbour rail spur and a submarine transfer corridor to facilitate the transfer of submarines between the CUF ship lift and existing ASC Submarines site.
The master plan will prepare the site for delivery of the Offshore Patrol Vessels, Future Frigates and Future Submarines. It will also play a vital part in delivery of these projects, representing thousands of ongoing South Australian jobs in defence and associated industries.
The Commonwealth Government has engaged a shipbuilding expert to undertake an infrastructure review, while Defence SA has appointed a senior manager to oversee the master plan project. The scope of the design work is to be finalised by September.
The State Government ran a sustained and successful campaign to secure a continuous shipbuilding program for South Australia that includes the $3 billion Offshore Patrol Vessels, $35 billion Future Frigates and $50 billion Future Submarine programs.
More than $300 million has already been invested by the State Government in state-owned infrastructure at the world-class maritime industrial precinct. However, to successfully deliver the Australian Navy’s next generation ships and submarines, significant investment in infrastructure is required at the site. Planning will be carried out in collaboration with the Commonwealth and consultation with industry.
Key features at Techport currently include:
- a Common User Facility (CUF), owned and operated by the State Government. The CUF comprises world-class common-user shipbuilding facilities and services including a wharf, runway, dry berth, transfer system and the largest ship lift in the southern hemisphere;
- an expansive, fully integrated industrial precinct for suppliers; and
- a commercial and education precinct including the Maritime Skills Centre, Air Warfare Destroyer Systems Centre and ASC ship and submarine building facilities.
The Offshore Patrol Vessels program is expected to begin in 2018 and the Future Submarines program in 2022. The first of 12 submarines is expected to enter service in the 2030s.
Work on the Federally-funded wharf extension is also progressing to cater to the current Air Warfare Destroyer project. At the same time, Techport has been included in the Gig City initiative, which offers several innovation hubs in Adelaide and the potential for internet speeds of 100-times the national average, using the existing SABRENet network.
Quotes attributable to Premier Jay Weatherill
The defence industry is a key part of South Australia’s economic prosperity which is why we are committed to setting ourselves up and planning for success in naval shipbuilding.
The jobs and businesses that will come with these defence contracts will lead the way in modernising the economy and creating a secure future for today’s young South Australians.
Building the submarines at Techport presents us with a unique opportunity to set up a highly competitive, highly efficient, world-class defence industry.
We are taking a long-term strategic view with this planning work. Getting it right is critical to South Australia remaining the nation’s premier shipbuilding hub.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Defence Industries Martin Hamilton-Smith
South Australia is the Defence State and it makes sense for naval shipbuilding work to be consolidated here. Techport Australia is already a world-class facility, however, we now need to ensure it is ready to accommodate the new projects we have secured.
The Techport shipbuilding site was originally designed for three Air Warfare Destroyers – we now have a continuous build program which naturally requires additional infrastructure.
Similarly, the submarine facility was constructed for Collins Class submarines and we now need to be able to continue to maintain the Collins Class while building the Future Submarines.
We have already started conversations with the Commonwealth and we will continue to build on these to develop a plan for the future of naval shipbuilding in South Australia.