Manufacturing News

Broken submarine promise would be Labor’s fault: government

The
federal government has announced a remediation project for the stalled Air
Warfare Destroyer program and delivered
a strong hint that the next generation of Australian submarines will be built
overseas.

As reported earlier by The Australian, defence minister David Johnston and finance
minister Mathias Cormann announced this morning that outside experts would be
deployed to remediate the AWD program, which is 30 months behind schedule.

“It is critically
important we get the AWD back on track so we can demonstrate the capacity to
deliver any future shipbuilding project on time and on budget,” Cormann said.

The ministers announced a “three-point plan” to “create a sustainable naval
shipbuilding industry”, involving the troubled AWD program, the creation of a “sovereign submarine industry” and
creating “a naval shipbuilding industry around a fleet of future frigates”.

According
to The Australian’s earlier report, the AWD Alliance (involving the Defence
Material Organisation, Raytheon Australia and the ASC) would be kept, but
management of key elements of the project would be handed over to Raytheon,
with assistance from Navantia and BAE Systems. As many as 40 outside experts
would be deployed to ASC’s Osborne shipyard.

This
morning’s announcement also featured a strong hint that the federal
government would have new submarines built overseas, with the defence minister
blaming Labor for what would be a breaking of the government’s pre-election
promise.

“They misled the
whole of Australia to say we’re doing something on 12 Walt Disney-style
submarines set out in the white paper,” The AFR quotes Johnston as saying.

“Then [Labor] did
nothing. Then did absolutely nothing and we are left to clean up the mess,
quite frankly.”

Image: Fairfax/Alex Ellinghausen

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