Labor welcomes the Turnbull Government’s belated announcement today to build all 12 of Australia’s Future Submarines in Adelaide.
Malcolm Turnbull and Marise Payne have been brought kicking and screaming to this decision by Labor, the South Australian Government, shipyard workers and the unions.
The South Australian community deserves full credit for this decision, for refusing to accept the Government breaking its promise to build 12 submarines at ASC.
After trying everything else Malcolm Turnbull and Marise Payne have finally made the right decision. The fact that it has taken close to three years is an outrage.
More than 1,500 shipyard workers have lost their jobs because of the games the Liberals have played with our strategically vital shipbuilding industry.
These submarines must be built in Australia from day one.
The Abbott-Turnbull Government has proven time and time again that it simply can’t be trusted with Australia’s naval shipbuilding industry.
The Government has confirmed it is yet to enter into contractual arrangements, which are subject to further discussions on commercial matters.
Australians have learnt that anything less than a signed contract is meaningless under this Government.
Labor calls on the Turnbull Government to ensure a requirement to build all 12 submarines in Adelaide is written into the contract.
Malcolm Turnbull and Marise Payne must guarantee there will be no backsliding on their announcement and that the commercial negotiations do not lead to a hybrid build that would see work sent offshore.
They must ensure that no future Government will be able to walk away from this announcement.
Whilst we welcome today’s announcement, the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s handling of the Future Submarines Project has been deeply flawed.
Labor’s 2009 and 2013 White Papers identified that Australia needs 12 submarines to meet our future strategic and national interests.
Instead of fulfilling its 2013 election promise, the Abbott-Turnbull Government has spent close to three years reaffirming what Labor identified years earlier.
Its chaotic approach has created unnecessary uncertainty and distress for Australian defence industry, particularly South Australian shipbuilders and their families.
First the Liberals promised the submarines would be built in Adelaide.
Then the former Defence Minister denigrated the South Australian workforce by saying he wouldn’t trust ASC to build a canoe.
Then we saw the submarines promised to Japan in a secret deal between Tony Abbott and his Japanese counterpart.
Finally Mr Abbott was forced to invent a risky and unproven Competitive Evaluation Process in order to save his job – a process Labor has been highly critical of.
While the Liberals have wreaked havoc on Australia’s naval shipbuilding industry, Australians have known all along what they would get from a Shorten Labor Government - 12 submarines built in South Australia.
TUESDAY, 26 APRIL 2016