No open tender for submarines – Joe Hockey

The Government has said it will not hold an open tender on
Australia’s new submarine project on the grounds that time is running out to
replace the existing Collins Class vessels.

Asked by Radio National’s Fran Kelly if an open tender was
possible, Treasurer Joe Hockey answered – “No we don’t have time for that
because Labor failed to make decisions.”

The Government has said previously stated that it is aiming
to replace the current submarine fleet within 12 years.

As The Australian reports, the Federal Opposition, the South Australian Government, unions and
others are pushing for an open tender, while the Government appears to favour a
Japanese bid to build the vessels.

The Australian Industry Group (AI Group) also favours an
open tender process and rejected the argument that there isn’t time.

“The Ai Group Defence Council National Executive –
which brings together Chief Executives from the major defence companies and
their suppliers – heard at its meeting in Canberra today that time is not a
barrier to holding a tender for the Future Submarine Program,” Ai Group Chief
Executive Innes Willox said in a statement yesterday.

According to the Age, Andrew Davies a submarine expert from
the Australian Strategic Policy Institute supports an open tender because it
would “drive the price down and the efficiency up”.

According to the Australian, while Hockey rejected an ‘open’
tender, a ‘limited’ tender may be possible. This means the government would
invite companies and governments to put forward proposals.

Not only Japan, but also Sweden, France and Germany have declared
interest in the project.

Meanwhile, Andrew Dettmer from the Australian Manufacturers
Workers Union reacted aggressively to Defence Minister David Johnston’s statement
that local ship builder ASC (which hopes to build the submarines) couldn’t be trusted to “build a canoe”.

“We have called for Minister Johnston to be removed –
whether he’s sacked or resigns of his own volition,” Dettmer said.

“In fact, we think he should basically crawl off and
die of shame.”

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