The federal government’s $50 billion submarine project at Osborne, Australia’s largest Naval investment since the Second World War, will have flow-on benefits for regional South Australia, says the defence minister.
Senator Marise Payne, Australia’s first female defence minister, spoke to Willunga RSL members about the Future Submarines project when Member for Mayo Jamie Briggs hosted the minister in his electorate last week.
“DCNS, the international submarine design partner, is proposing to build a facility at Osborne which will be bigger than Adelaide Oval,” Senator Payne said.
“I think it will have a flow on effect (to the Mayo region) because of the stimulus it brings to an economy broadly,” she said.
The $50 billion Future Submarines project is being launched alongside the $35 billion Future Frigates project and $3 billion Offshore Patrol Vessels.
“When you can stimulate the economy in that way it has significant flow on effects, so not just in the naval shipbuilding, but also the companies that work in the supply chain, which has significant depth in South Australia.
“Whether it’s someone working in plastics, or electricians, virtually any trade you can think of, we are going to need to engage them in shipbuilding.
“I’m sure there will be workers who will travel from here (the Fleurieu) to work in this context, and we’ll have to go down the road in both tertiary and school education in focusing on our workforce needs.”
Senator Payne said Edinburgh’s air force base is earmarked to receive an upgrade worth hundreds of millions of dollars in the next decade.
“The prime minister and I are very committed to making sure that if we are spending a defence dollar we will look to be spending as close to possible a 100 per cent Australian spend,” she said.
Mr Briggs said the boost to employment and economy in Adelaide from the shipbuilding project would have broad benefits for the Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island.
“A continuous local build of naval ships will deliver significant spill-over benefits, driving investment, jobs, growth and innovation across the wider economy, and create opportunities for small-to-mediums sized businesses across the nation,” he said.
“It’s confidence as well, the great strength of the south coast is the tourism potential, and having more confidence and a higher level of employment in Adelaide that will be a big benefit to all of our regions.”
When asked whether Whyalla’s Arrium steelworks would be engaged in the project, Senator Payne said, “I don’t think we’re progressed that far at this point”. She said the government has indicated it will be using Australian steel in its three major shipbuilding projects.
Senator Payne and Mr Briggs visited the Willunga and District RSL Sub-branch to announce a $35,260 grant under the Veteran and Community Grants program to help upgrade their clubroom facilities. “We had a great time chatting to members about the coalition’s defence industry plan that will secure an advanced defence manufacturing industry for South Australia, building 12 Future Submarines and 9 Future Frigates in Adelaide and securing thousands of new hi-tech jobs for our state,” Mr Briggs said. He said it had been great to have the support of his Liberal colleagues visiting Mayo.