Defence Minister must take control of Australia's Future Submarine Project

Recent reports of a hybrid plan for Australia’s Future Submarines will lead to a loss in Australian jobs, and will not offer sufficient work to sustain a viable naval shipbuilding industry.

Japanese newspaper, Mainichi Shimbun has reported that the Abe Government is willing to partly build Australia’s Future Submarines, with hull sections to be built in Japan, and assembly and fit out of propulsion, combat and other systems in Australia.  
 
1400 shipbuilding jobs in Victoria and New South Wales will be lost over the next 12 months due to the Abbott Government’s inaction. This is devastating news for these workers, their families and communities.
 
The closure of the naval shipbuilding yards in Newcastle and Williamstown could and should have been avoided.
 
Tony Abbott knew exactly what he had to do to bridge the ‘valley of death’ – bring forward work on two supply ships and new patrol boats, implement Labor's Future Submarines Industry and Skills Plan and start the future frigate program.
 
Australia’s Future Submarine Project is one of the largest Defence acquisitions the Commonwealth will ever make and is far too important to be decided as a result of a sweet-heart deal with Japan.
 
In the first 15 months of government the former Defence Minister David Johnston was unable to make a decision on this critical project, being constantly sidelined by Tony Abbott on all important Defence decisions.
 
The new Defence Minister Kevin Andrews must take back control of Defence from the chaotic and dysfunctional Prime Minister’s Office.
 
Kevin Andrews must immediately demand a competitive tender for Australia's future submarines - not one designed to deliver a pre-ordained outcome.
 
Expert after expert has testified that Australia has the capability to build a submarine that meets our unique needs for range and endurance in a timeframe that ensures there is no capability gap.
 
Labor is confident that a proper competitive tender will ensure that our new submarine fleet is built in Adelaide.
Labor had a plan to bridge the ‘valley of death’, by bringing forward the purchase of new supply ships and patrol boats, as well as the future frigates to be built here in Australia.
 
Kevin Andrews should take immediate steps to secure the future of Australia's strategically vital shipbuilding industry and its thousands of workers.
 

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