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Tuesday, 21 May 1985
Page: 2208

Senator ROBERTSON —My question is addressed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I refer to the long-running debate over the proposal to acquire new submarines for the Royal Australian Navy. Can the Minister say what stage this project is at and whether there will be opportunities for Australian industry in the construction of the submarines?

Senator BUTTON —This morning the Minister for Defence, Mr Beazley, announced the selection of two submarine design teams to undertake project definition studies on the Royal Australian Navy's new submarine project. Two consortia are Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft or HDW of West Germany, and Kockums of Sweden. The Government has announced a clear intention to have six submarines constructed in Australia. A final decision on the construction location and the precise extent of Australian industry involvement will have to await the outcome of the project definition studies. We can be sure that the project will provide real long term opportunities across a wide range of technological and service activities. The Australian build will provide maximum opportunities for Australian industry to become closely involved in the project. Assessments on the project have indicated a high degree of capacity on the part of Australian industry to perform the major construction tasks associated with the project and world class capacity in terms of some of the high technology areas, particularly electronics, involved in the project. This announcement by the Minister for Defence this morning is a major opportunity for Australian industry to demonstrate that it has the engineering capabilities and competitive edge to ensure the success of this very important project.