Future submarine building jobs are at stake in SA, after French company DCNS retracted its statement that 90 per cent of the construction of its next fleet would occur in Australia.
Speaking to a Senate committee on Tuesday night, DCNS said it had no formal agreement with Adelaide company ASC (which had been promised the work), and that it would “absorb” ASC workers, rather than directly employing them.
The company also went back on its previous statement that over 90 per cent of the build would occur in Australia, with DCNS interim chief executive Brent Clark declining to give a specific figure.
“The figures are now rubbery – they are talking about a 60 per cent figure,” Senator Nick Xenophon told the ABC.
South Australia’s Defence Industries Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith said that it was not just ASC, but also workers in the supply chain that would be impacted.
“If we’re only going to get 60 per cent, or 50 per cent, or 40 per cent, that’s a lot of jobs that will be going off overseas to France or elsewhere,” he told the ABC.
Hamilton-Smith criticised the Federal Government for not writing the original 90 per cent figure into the contract, and for not explaining why this figure cannot be achieved.