The government has released the long-awaited $89 billion Naval Shipbuilding Plan today, which includes plans to spend $1.3 billion to upgrade naval facilities in South Australia and Western Australia.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Defence Minister Marise Payne and Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne officially released the 114-page plan at the Osborne shipyards in Adelaide today.
In a joint statement, Prime Minister Turnbull and Minister Pyne said, "The government is delivering on its unwavering commitment to both national security and economic prosperity through the continuous building of naval vessels in Australia, while also strengthening the nation’s advanced manufacturing industrial base."
The plan outlines over $1 billion in infrastructure upgrades, which includes an upgrade to Adelaide's Osborne Naval Shipyard and the plant at Henderson in WA.
Work on the infrastructure build at Osborne will begin in July, to support the construction of major surface ships, and conclude by the second half of 2019.
The upgrades will encompass construction of new cranes and heavy lift transportation capability, welding stations and upgrades to workshops and storage facilities, including new steel framed sheds.
The plan states that, while the existing infrastructure at Osborne is "sufficient" to continue block assembly of Australia's three air warfare destroyers, it is "inadequate" for "high productivity construction" of major surface combatants such as the future frigates, which are expected to begin construction in 2020.
The naval shipbuilding workforce is expected to grow to around 5,200 workers by the mid to late 2020s, with more than double this number of workers in sustainment activities and throughout supply chains across Australia.
But the plan also acknowledges foreign and interstate workers will be needed in SA if production deadlines are to be met on time.
The program will see 12 submarines, nine frigates and 12 offshore patrol vessels produced, as well as 19 Pacific Patrol Boats given to neighbouring countries.
The blueprint also says it "will give competitive Australian businesses great opportunities to compete for Defence contracts and transfer knowledge, technology and skills to other areas of the economy, expand into new markets and pursue export opportunities".