The State Government has announced three key points that must be included in the Defence White Paper next month, to rescue the Australian shipbuilding industry.
Defence Industries Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith said when the Federal Government releases the Defence White Paper next month it must defend Australian jobs.
1. Both the submarines and frigates must be built in Australia
“For Australia’s naval shipbuilding industry to be sustainable, the Federal Government must build both surface ships and submarines in Australia,” Mr Hamilton-Smith said.
“A hybrid build cannot be trusted; to tool up an overseas dockyard for the initial two or three submarines will invite a later decision to complete the entire run overseas.
2. Australia’s shipbuilding industry needs a continuous build
“The number of surface ships and submarines built in Australia must be sufficient to ensure a continuous build of both.
“The Federal Government must build 12 submarines as promised.
“Defence strategists have argued successfully that our Defence requires 12 submarines. Only 12 will provide Australian naval shipbuilding industry with a continuous build.
“History shows that a Federal Government’s promise to build 8 with an option for a further 4 is flawed. Options for additional Oberon class and Collins class were never delivered.
3. There must be a minimum 70 per cent Australian content
“The Federal Government must mandate for a minimum of 70 per cent Australian worker participation in the submarine and frigates build. This would match previous projects and international standards,” Mr Hamilton-Smith said.
“For the Collins Class submarines, a 70 per cent Australian build met the mark. The Air Warfare Destroyer had a target of 50 per cent local content, which was exceeded.
“The Anzac-class frigates were redesigned during the development phase to maximise the involvement of Australian and New Zealand industries to 80 per cent.
“The same benchmark for local worker participation should be applied to all major defence procurements, including Land 400.”
“These three key points are based on the concept that you can’t have a defence capability, without a defence industry capability,” Mr Hamilton-Smith said.
“The security of our nation, stability of our industry and the strength of our workforce are the pillars of the State Government’s defence industries vision.
“The Federal Government’s rhetoric 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 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.
“Defence primes including German defence company ThyssenKrupp Marine System (TKMS) have indicated that a local submarine build was a cheaper option and the best option.”
TKMS is in Adelaide today, where it will brief more than 100 members of local industry on their supply chain requirements if they win the contract to supply Australia’s future submarines.
TKMS executives including defence expert John White, will consult with a number of local SMEs following their briefing in an attempt to form partnerships for it’s the Future Submarine Program bid.
“This is an important opportunity for South Australia to present the breadth and depth of our capabilities in naval shipbuilding and sustainment,” Mr Hamilton-Smith said.