Minister for Defence Senator David Johnston has sparked criticism by stating that he “wouldn’t trust [ASC] to build a canoe” during questioning about the Future Submarine program.
Asked in the Senate whether the government should engage in a competitive tender process for SEA 1000, the replacement for the Royal Australian Navy’s Collins class submarines, he cited ASC’s performance on the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) program.
“You wonder why I am worried about ASC and what they are delivering to the Australian taxpayer,” Senator Johnston said. “Do you wonder why I wouldn’t trust them to build a canoe? What they have done on the Air Warfare Destroyer, I have had to, and [Minister for Finance] Mathias Cormann has had to, repair.”
The Minister said the AWD build program was substantially over budget.
“They’re $350 million over budget on three Air Warfare Destroyer builds. Now I’m being conservative. It’s probably more than $600 million, but because the data is so bad, I can’t tell you.”