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Patrick attacks subs construction backflip

Manufacturing News

Independent Senator Rex Patrick has criticised an apparent backflip by the federal government in their plans to build nuclear powered submarines in Adelaide.

According to a report in The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that the nuclear submarines being acquired by Australia under the Aukus pact may be imported.

Morrison appeared to say that the need to have a submarine deterrent quickly trumped a need to favour local construction.

Senator Patrick, a former submariner, took to social media to criticise the backflip.

Patrick said: “Scott Morrison is softening the ground for what will be a betrayal of South Australia and sovereign capability.

“He’s already wasted $5.5 billion on the cancelled Attack class subs, now he wants to export $170 billion and thousands of jobs to foreign shipyards.”

The Morrison government has said repeatedly that nuclear submarines – chosen over French Attack class vessels selected by Canberra only a few years ago then abandoned – would be constructed in Adelaide.

In a statement dated 16 September, 2021 Morrison said: “The Government’s intention is to build the nuclear-powered submarines in South Australia, maximising the use of Australian workers.

“Building the submarines in Australia is the best way to develop a strong and effective sustainment industry, which will enable us to meet every requirement to safely operate and maintain nuclear-powered submarines.”

The government-owned Australian Naval Infrastructure began to construct a new submarine construction yard at Osborne in Adelaide to build the Attack class, but paused work when the French Naval Group’s contract was abandoned.

The new yard (pictured) sits unfinished at Osborne and is situated alongside ASC which constructed the Collins Class conventional submarines.

The South Australian government, which has also invested heavily at Osborne, appears not to have been informed of the move to import nuclear submarines rather than build them locally.

The state backed Defence SA Group said as recently as March 23 this year that Canberra intended to acquire at least eight nuclear-powered submarines.

“These are set to be built at the world-class Osborne Naval Shipyard in Adelaide.

“…Opportunities for Australian industry participation are expected to range from capability design to complex project management, to construction and sustainment.”

Picture: Australian Naval Infrastructure

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