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Defence Conference highlights urgency for naval shipbuilding decisions

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

A high-level Defence Conference held in Adelaide this week has reinforced the need for the Federal Government to make swift decisions about the future of naval shipbuilding.

Minister for Defence Industries Martin Hamilton-Smith said the Defence and Industry Conference highlighted the need for a 30-year continuous build to lock in $250 billion of naval shipbuilding to support jobs and local enterprises.

Mr Hamilton-Smith said the conference also highlighted the urgency of acting on the White/Winter report into the $8 billion Air Warfare Destroyer project and the primacy of advancing the project to build eight naval frigates.

“The Federal Government should act swiftly to implement the recommendations of the White/Winter report including installing a new management team to the AWD project,” he said.

“The industry also needs a decision on the frigate project so that we can maintain our shipbuilding workforce and the local industry’s skills and expertise.

“It is also absolutely essential that the promised 12 submarines be assembled, built and maintained here in Australia in facilities centred in Adelaide, regardless of the overseas design chosen by the Commonwealth.

“Naval shipbuilding jobs and the highly advanced industry that supports these projects must be based in Australia.

“Some important nation-building decisions need to be made. The South Australian Government intends to play an important role in guiding this debate in the coming year.”

“By providing a regular deal flow for 30 years, the Commonwealth can guarantee a cost-effective naval shipbuilding industry that supplies our Navy with world-class ships.

“About two-thirds of the $250 billion naval shipbuilding budget for the next 30 years will be spent on mid-cycle dockings and life sustainment.

“South Australian workers and businesses are absolutely opposed to taxpayers’ money being spent to create jobs and support a naval shipbuilding industry in another country.”