Defence minister and deputy prime minister Richard Marles has given the strongest possible commitment that a future Australian nuclear submarine fleet will be built in Adelaide and not imported.
In his first visit to a significant defence facility Marles yesterday toured the Osborne naval shipyard in Adelaide where he unequivocally committed to an Australian and an Adelaide build for a fleet of eight nuclear submarines.
Marles told a press conference: “This is a critical part of our nation’s future.
“Indeed, Australia’s defence starts right here. It starts right here at Osborne.
“As an island continent so much of our defence capability is based on our maritime capability, and this is the home of our nation’s shipbuilding and submarine building industry.”
Marles praised the Collins class submarines built in Adelaide and looked forward to the Aukus agreement delivering a nuclear powered submarine fleet.
“It is fundamentally important to that program that Australia has the capability to build those submarines in our nation and that happens right here at Osborne.
“And an Albanese Labor Government is committed to that.
“It’s really important to understand how significant that is in the context of AUKUS, because Australia needs to play its part in contributing to the industrial base of all three countries, and the way in which we will get the eight submarines in the quickest possible time is by having that capability to build submarines right here at Osborne.”
The former Liberal government invested in Osborne as the large warship construction site for the navy and Perth’s Henderson shipyard as the constructor of smaller vessels.
BAE Systems Australia is constructing nine Hunter class frigates at the new Osborne South shipyard built by the Commonwealth as well as offshore patrol vessels, with the complex also the home of ASC, the former Australian Submarine Corporation that built the conventional Collins class submarines.
It is also the site of a new, partially completed submarine construction yard at Osborne North which was being built for Naval Group to construct the now-cancelled Attack class submarines.
The two new yards built and under construction at Osborne represent a $1 billion capital investment by Canberra.
Marles said: “As a nation, what we must be doing is climbing the technological ladder in terms of our domestic economy.
“We need to be engaged in high-tech manufacturing, and there is no more high-tech manufacturing that you will get than building submarines, than building frigates, than building offshore patrol vessels that we’re seeing right now.
“So, the future is very bright here for Osborne. It’s very bright for South
Australia and this is going to make a huge contribution to the security of our nation.”
Marles has said previously he is aiming to decide which nuclear submarine Australia will acquire by early next year, as well as whether we will need to construct an interim conventionally powered submarine to bridge a looming ‘capability gap’, given the advanced age of the Collins boats.
See also: Hunter class frigate is fit to fight.
Picture: Richard Marles and Anthony Albanese
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