The defence industry is today urging the Federal Government to commit to ensuring Australian sovereignty to secure our national shipbuilding industry by clarifying how much of the Future Submarines work will be done in Australia, following the Government’s inability to confirm what level of Australian involvement there will be in the project.
The Australian Made Defence Campaign said the defence industry needs certainty around the project to be in the best position to effectively plan its workforce into the future, and to make sure the defence industry does more than low-level work on the $50 billion project.
“Australian national security and sovereignty will be best served by ensuring the majority of the work on the future submarines is conducted in Australia using Australian capability and an Australian workforce that has the skills and knowledge to deliver on this project,” said Kerryn Smith, spokesperson for the Australian Made Defence campaign.
“We have an incredibly innovative defence industry and highly skilled workforce in our shipyards right here in Australia, it makes sense to use these. It is vital we have clarity around Australian industry involvement to ensure we keep and develop these capabilities.
“This is a crucial time for the defence industry – businesses and their workforce cannot afford to be left in limbo.
“One of the reasons this is especially important for the submarine project is sustainment. Submarines are second in complexity only to space shuttles, if our industry is not intrinsically involved in the build it will be extremely difficult to effectively maintain and sustain them, as we cannot develop the local knowledge that comes with being involved at each stage of the project.
“Without a clear picture of how much work will be done on our shores, the Australian defence industry is put in a precarious position. We need long-term strategic planning around the submarines and shipbuilding – and currently there are still many vital questions that remain unanswered.
“This conversation comes down to the type of nation we want to be; a highly skilled, innovative defence industry, capable of supporting our sovereignty and national security and exporting our capabilities, or a country that simply bolts together pieces from overseas.” said Ms Smith.
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