The State Government has called on Opposition Leader Steven Marshall to immediately declare his unqualified support for a sustainable shipbuilding industry in South Australia.
Before the last Federal election, Steven Marshall said:
“The State Liberals welcome the Coalition’s confirmation today that 12 submarines will be built in Adelaide under a Coalition Government.” (Steven Marshall press release, 8 May, 2013)
Yesterday Steven Marshall told Channel Nine News that the number of submarines to be built is:
“going to come down to what is the recommendation from Navy, how many do they need?” (press conference, 8 October 2015)
Defence Industries Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith said Mr Marshall must immediately inform South Australians what he knows about the submarines tender process.
“Steven Marshall was quick to claim credit for meeting with his ‘friends’ in Canberra,” Mr Hamilton-Smith said.
“What information is Steven Marshall withholding from South Australians?
“Before the last Federal election Steven Marshall stood next to the then Defence Minister when he promised South Australians that 12 submarines would be built, based out of Adelaide – does he still think the Federal Government should keep its promise?
“Defence strategists and economic experts agree that eight submarines will only provide a project, where as 12 submarines will secure a sustainable industry.
“The Senate Committee into the future of Australia’s shipbuilding industry found that a reduction to eight subs will fail to satisfy Australia’s strategic imperatives.
“The Committee recommended the Government commit to 12 submarines, that the submarines should be built and sustained in Australia and that a Naval Construction Authority should deliver them.
“Steven Marshall would have an on again – off again project that would take workers on and then lay them off, open shipyards and close them down in a boom-bust cycle of uncertainty; that’s no way to underpin a naval shipbuilding industry.
“A government commitment to only building 8 submarines will negate the opportunity to develop a continuous build program that a commitment to 12 submarines would provide.
“Bidders at the Pacific 2015 maritime exposition in Sydney this week also indicated that a quick transfer of technology to Australia would rely on a commitment to a continuous build.”