In response to evidence provided this week at The Senate Economics References Committee into the future of Australia’s naval shipbuilding industry, the State Government has demanded a hybrid or overseas submarine build be ruled out immediately, before the Federal Government releases its Defence White Paper.
The Minister for Defence Industries Martin Hamilton-Smith said that “before it hands down its Defence White Paper and Naval Shipbuilding Strategy next month, the Federal Government should rule out options for an overseas or hybrid build of our Future Submarines.
“The Federal Government’s mantra of “best capability at the best price” ignores the value of building long term skill bases and the value to industry of a local build.
“The Senate was informed by defence expert and Thyssen Krupp Marine System Chairman John White that a local submarine build was the cheapest and best submarine option.
“The State Government, local industry and workers are of one mind; we will protect Australia, we will build a strong defence industry and we will stand by the workers in our shipyards.
“Security of our nation, stability of our industry and the strength of our workforce are the pillars of our defence industries vision,” Mr Hamilton-Smith said.
“The Federal Government must deliver a sustainable industry by committing to an Australian build of both surface ships and submarines.
“A hybrid build cannot be trusted; to tool up an overseas dockyard for an initial two or three submarines invites a later decision to complete the entire run overseas.
“The number of surface ships and submarines must be sufficient to ensure a continuous build of both. Defence strategists and economists agree that only 12 submarines will provide Australia’s industry with a continuous build. The Federal Government must keep its promise.
“History shows that a promise to build 8 submarines with an option for a further 4 is flawed. Options for additional Oberon class and Collins class submarines were never delivered.
“A benchmark of 70 per cent local worker participation must also be achieved to provide a consistent level of Australian content to previous projects and international standards.”