Minister for Defence Kevin Andrews has indicated that the federal government will not seek to have the Future Submarines built wholly overseas, as he drew attention to a plan to have at least 70 per cent of the work done in Australia.
The government announced back in February that Defence would be seeking proposals from potential international partners France, Germany and Japan for overseas, domestic and hybrid build options.
“I see that one of the bidders has said that they can build a significant part of a submarine here in Australia, some 70 to 80 per cent,” Minister Andrews said in Parliament on Thursday. “That means that we are going to have more jobs and a significant part of that build, perhaps 70 to 80 per cent, of submarines built here in Australia.”
French naval shipbuilding company DCNS has confirmed that it would be able to achieve an Australian content level of 70 per cent for SEA 1000 in the context of a domestic build.
And its German rival TKMS has stated that it would also be able to achieve Australian content of around the 70 per cent mark, as ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems Australia chairman Dr John White told Australian Defence Business Review in an interview that will be published in the forthcoming edition of the magazine.
“Submarines, frigates, offshore patrol vessels; all of these things being done because we are looking after the safety and the security of the people of Australia,” Minister Andrews continued.
“And what does that mean? That means that they are safe. It is good for Defence; it is good for all these industries around the country who are contributing to the defence industry in this country, and beyond that it is good for jobs, workers and ordinary families of Australia.”
This week, Minister Andrews has repeatedly called for continuity in the Defence portfolio, in light of the imminent release of the 2015 Defence White Paper and with the Competitive Evaluation Process for the Future Submarine program ongoing, amid speculation that he will be replaced by Education Minister Christopher Pyne under Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.