Prime minister Tony Abbott has given an “absolute guarantee” of more jobs in South Australia, regardless of who wins the controversial “competitive evaluation process” to build the country’s next submarine fleet.
“Whatever happens, I can give an absolute, categoric guarantee there will be more sub jobs in South Australia and I think that’s what South Australians understandably want,” Abbott told media yesterday.
The issue came up again yesterday after an unnamed Liberal MP told Sky News that the Coalition would lose every single seat in SA if the Japanese bid was triumphant in the competitive evaluation process.
Under the CEP, Japanese, German and French companies have each been instructed to submit bids for scenarios of offshore, Australian and hybrid submarine construction for the fleet to replace the current Collins Class subs.
Independent SA senator Nick Xenophon, who is campaigning for the submarines to be built in his home state, is seeking candidates to run in Liberal SA seats.
Meanwhile, The Australian has raised the possibility of a Japanese/Swedish joint bid, with vessels built in Australia. Sweden’s SAAB – which acquired Kockums, the maker of the Collins Class last year – already has roughly 350 staff in SA.
According to the report, the Japan/SAAB build would see key parts of the work done by SAAB, overcome Japan’s need to create an extra shipyard to construct the fleet, and their lack of experience in exporting submarines.
Image: Department of Defence