Former Submarine Commander (now managing director of Forgacs), Mike Deeks, believes that Newcastle could be the home of up to four of Australia's Future Submarines.
"If the government goes ahead and builds 12 new submarines, and I have no reason to doubt they will, then I am pretty certain they won't base them all in Western Australia," said Deeks at the recent Hunternet Defence Conference held in Newcastle.
"I don't believe Sydney has the capacity or desire to have them based there.
"Garden Island is stretched to the limit and the community pressures to get the Navy out of Sydney are growing."
Deeks then listed two locations on the east coast that could accommodate the Future Subs - Port Kembla and Newcastle.
"As a former submariner I can tell you, you can forget about Rudd's idea of basing them in Brisbane or anywhere further north.
"If I was to be asked what is the worst port on the east coast of Australia from which to operate a modern submarine force, Brisbane would be my instantaneous first choice.
"Newcastle, I believe, from a submariner's perspective, has advantages over Port Kembla.
"It has easy access outside the port to deep water, it has available wharf space and land to accommodate a submarine base and it has the infrastructure and community services available to support a submarine squadron."
When asked how many submarines ideally would be based on the east coast Deeks responded "I envisage a future where up to four submarines are based here.
"I encourage everyone of you to embrace this idea and promote it whenever you get the chance.
"It will be good for Newcastle and good for your business."
Forgacs (recently acquired by Civmec) is investing heavily in its Tomago site.
"In addition to improving and expanding the existing workshops, warehouses and offices, we are also exploring the option of installing a vessel lifting capability there."
Forgacs is actively chasing opportunities in Defence Estate civil infrastructure projects and naval ship construction and through life support.
"We are already working on projects at Nowra in New South Wales, Woomera in South Australia, and Campbell Barracks in Perth.
"The Federal Government has made a number of announcements this year regarding Offshore Patrol Vessels, Future Frigates and Future Submarines.
"Forgacs sees a potential role for ourselves in each of these projects."
Deeks then explained how studying history and even some of the recent projects gives him hope that not all the work will be done in Adelaide.
"When the Federal Government says future frigates and future submarines will be built in Adelaide, what I hear is future frigates and submarines will be assembled in Adelaide.
"Just like the AWDs are being built in Adelaide but, in fact, 40% of the modules were built here in Newcastle by Forgacs.
"I am optimistic that we will win a fair chunk of work some of which may, or may not, be done in Newcastle.
"I'm also optimistic that we will win other significant marine and defence projects which will bring work to Newcastle. We wouldn't be planning to put in a ship lifting capability if we didn't think that was the case."