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Media Release by the Opposition Defence spokesman

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Opposition Defence Spokesman, Ian Sinclair, today warned the

Government that any replacement submarine program which did

not consider nuclear-powered vessels would be reappraised by

the next Coalition Government.

He said that the Government owed it to the future defence of

Australia to give full consideration to nuclear-powered

submarines before going ahead with final evaluations for a

replacement boat.

Mr Sinclair said technology in the nuclear field was advancing

at such a fast rate that Australia would have to be blind to

ignore it.

’’The replacement program will be one of the most expensive defence

outlays made by Australia," Mr Sinclair said.

"It will have implications for naval operations over the next

40 years and it is imperative that we make the right decision.

"Nuclear-powered submarines have been extremely successful in

other navies and could be equally successful for us.

"To go ahead with a replacement and not even consider nuclear

power is ridiculous.

"It will be a great setback for Australia if this Government

refuses to accept the latest technology and buys a submarine

design that could be but of date before the boats enter service."

Mr Sinclair, who pointed out that it was Opposition policy

to examine nuclear power, said an independent inquiry should

handle the evaluations of any new submarine design.