Australia will build 6 new conventional submarine (photo : Layher)
South Australia in Box Seat to Win Billion-dollar Defence Contracts
THE national race to snare work in the planned multi-billion-dollar submarine program has largely been won by South Australia, the state's Treasurer claimed in parliament yesterday.
Jack Snelling, who also is South Australian Defence Industry Minister, said in recent weeks he had met with senior leaders in defence, including the federal Defence Minister Stephen Smith, to secure "early opportunities" arising out of the Future Submarine Project.
The planned 12 new submarines are set to be built in South Australia but the other states, particularly Victoria, had hoped to benefit through companies providing key components and infrastructure.
But Mr Snelling said federal Labor and other defence leaders understood that South Australia was "primed to capture a significant share of this work".
"Over recent weeks, I have personally met with senior leaders in defence to reinforce South Australia's focus on securing early opportunities arising out of the future submarine project, including promoting South Australia as the logical home for project design and complementary facilities, such as the proposed submarine propulsion land based facility," Mr Snelling told parliament."Under Defence's current plans, the commonwealth will spend up to $250 billion over the next 20 years on acquiring and sustaining new ships and submarines, an enormous opportunity by any measure.
"South Australia is committed to supporting defence with this ambitious target.
"We are primed to capture a significant share of this work with our highly skilled workforce, state-of-the-art infrastructure and experienced maritime industry."
Mr Snelling said during his meeting with Mr Smith, the Minister had reinforced the federal government's commitment to acquiring 12 new submarines to be consolidated in South Australia over the next 30 years.
"The Future Submarine Project will be the largest and most complex defence project ever undertaken by Australia, providing significant job opportunities for South Australians for decades to come," Mr Snelling said.
The Gillard government has said it would build 12 conventionally powered submarines in Adelaide, but has not yet said whether they would be largely Australian-made or a locally constructed off-the-shelf European boat.
The construction of 12 large home-made submarines has been estimated at up to $36 billion.
Mr Snelling said the state was committed to a long-term defence industry and attracting additional defence units, and was well placed given its multi-billion-dollar Collins class submarine sustainment contract and the $8 billion air warfare destroyer construction contract.
However, while he said he supported the industry's Defence Teaming Centre, he could not guarantee its funding next financial year.