South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill and Minister for Defence Martin Hamilton-Smith will meet with a Japanese Government and industry delegation bidding for the Future Submarine project.
Mr Hamilton-Smith said building the next generation of submarines was at the top of the priority list on Australia’s defence agenda.
“This visit gives the State Government another chance to demonstrate that South Australia is equipped, ready and capable of building world-class submarines,” Mr Hamilton-Smith said in a media statement.
“The global interest in naval manufacturing presents an opportunity to showcase our industry competencies and achievements and maximise opportunities for local industry.”
The three-day visit will also see the Japanese delegation meet with local companies involved in the Collins submarine project – including BAE Systems, PMB Defence and Babcock – and tour the ASC’s submarine yard and Techport Australia shipbuilding facility after briefing more than 100 members of local industry on potential supply chain opportunities.
Mr Hamilton-Smith said the visit was a great opportunity to showcase South Australia’s credentials as a centre for excellence in naval shipbuilding underpinned by the state’s world class infrastructure, research and industry base.
“We have demonstrated our commitment through the State’s major investment in Techport Australia, and we’re determined to see the naval shipbuilding sector grow. The South Australian Government and the local defence industry stand ready to partner with the preferred international partner to deliver Australia’s future submarines,” the Minister said.
“Defence remains a central pillar of South Australia’s economy, employing 28,500 South Australians and contributing about $2 billion to the economy each year. The State Government, local defence industry and workers are committed to protecting Australia, by building a strong defence industry, which supports the workers in our shipyards.”
He said that with the Federal Government delaying the release of its Defence White Paper there was still time to provide industry with the certainty it needs and to rule out a hybrid or overseas submarine build.
“The only way the Federal Government can successfully deliver a sustainable industry is by committing to an Australian build of both surface ships and submarines. The number of surface ships and submarines must also be sufficient to ensure a continuous build of both,” Mr Hamilton-Smith added.
“Defence strategists and economists agree that only 12 submarines will provide Australia’s industry with a continuous build. The Federal Government must keep its promise. A benchmark of 70% local worker participation must be achieved to provide a consistent level of Australian content to previous projects and international standards.”