Australian shipbuilders have expressed fears that Australia will have minimal involvement in the building and maintenance of the nation’s future submarines and warships.
South Australia should expect to see only a fraction of the benefits from the $89 billion Future Submarines and shipbuilding defence construction, according to Defence SA.
The organisation claims there is a “false perception” that SA will be receiving a large proportion of the plan’s benefits, which include billions of dollars in industry investment and thousands of jobs.
The plan comprises 12 Future Submarines, nine Future Frigates, and 12 Offshore Patrol Vessels.
According to the Federal Government, the submarines, frigates, and the first two Offshore Patrol Vessels will be built in South Australia, and the majority of the sub servicing will be done in Australia.
However, Defence SA believes the state may get as little as 10 per cent of the overall work.
This sentiment has been echoed by Victorian Labour Senator Kim Carr, who said the latest proposals from the DCNS seem to show that much of the work will be done in France as opposed to Australia.
Defence Industries Minister Christopher Pyne has accused Defence SA and others in South Australia of “scaremongering”.
“Defence SA quite frankly wouldn’t know because Defence SA is not involved in building the submarines. The submarines project is an Australian government project,” he told ABC radio.
Meanwhile, the West Australian government intends to campaign for more work, but Pyne has warned their efforts will be futile.
According to Pyne, the WA government can “wish all they like”, but the work will be centred in SA.
“There are some businesses around Australia of course that will make things for the subs as they will for the frigates and the offshore patrol vessels. This is the largest national infrastructure project in our history … so of course there’ll be work shared all around the country,” he told The Australian.
“But it doesn’t make any sense for the majority of the work not to be done in South Australia because that’s where the infrastructure is for it.”