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South Australian $70 billion submarine project torpedoed by Smith

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South Australian $70 billion submarine project torpedoed by Smith

October 14, 2011

Defence Minister Stephen Smith has conceded that the replacement submarines for the Collins Class will not bring the windfall to South Australia they had been alluding to since the release of the 2009 Defence White Paper.

Shadow Defence Minister David Johnston the Minister had confirmed to him in writing this week that the submarines would not be built in South Australia. Instead they would be “assembled from components and possibly modules manufactured in a number of locations around Australia and overseas - final assembly will take place in South Australia.”

Senator Johnston said this torpedoes the Rann/Foley grand $70 billion plan to build the future submarines in South Australia by saying that the best he can do for the State is to give it the final assembly.

“As anyone in the Defence industry will tell you, there is a massive difference between building and assembling the new submarines and this will be a huge blow to South Australian industry which has been sold a pup by this Government,” Senator Johnston said.

Senator Johnston said the South Australian Premier and his Minister had both been quick to criticise the Opposition unless every statement specifically said the submarines would be built in their State.

“This is understandable as they naturally want the best for industry in South Australia, as does the Coalition, but they need to stand up for that industry and ask the Defence Minister some tough questions about this frank admission.”

Since the release of the White Paper in 2009 the Coalition has questioned the Labor

Government’s ability to deliver the wish list it contained, given there were no associated costings and in the three Budgets since the White Paper no money put aside for the promised 12 new submarines.