Jobs and economic boon slated for SA under defence plans

Air Warfare Destroyer at the ASC shipyard. Image via Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence.

Government investment in naval shipbuilding will create 8,000 jobs in South Australia and add billions to the state economy, an independent report has found.

PwC's independent assessment of the $89 billion shipbuilding projects to take place in SA has said the current workforce will more than triple and more than $130 billion will be added to the local economy, improving gross state product by 3.5 per cent.

Of the 8,000 jobs, 3,500 will be in shipbuilding and the rest in industries related to shipbuilding.

French company Naval Group (formerly DCNS) won the $50 billion contract to build the 12 Future Submarines at Osborne's Techport naval shipbuilding facility last year. Additionally, nine Future Frigates will be built by either BAE Systems, Fincantieri or Navantia under a $35 billion contract. Two of the 12 Offshore Patrol Vessels will also be built in SA prior to the commencement of the Future Frigates Project, at which point the remaining 10 will move to WA for construction.

The OPV project will kick off next year under the leadership of either AustalFassmer, Damen or Lürssen, frigate construction will likely commence in 2020 and submarine work will begin around 2022-23.

Interestingly, the report states that it is "unclear of the level of expenditure that will likely occur in South Australia in this acquisition phase", and states this should not be a priority.

"In some respects, debating the absolute level of expenditure on shipbuilding in South Australia is not productive in and of itself," the report reads.

"Rather the priority should be about continuing to mobilise South Australian industry to work with prime contractors to:

• Identify existing capabilities and opportunities to provide ‘plug and play’ solutions

• Invest to grow new capabilities aligned with the shipbuilding industry’s needs."

Jobs and economic boon slated for SA under defence plans
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