The Commonwealth government has reached a settlement with the French shipbuilder to compensate for the cancellation of the former $90 billion Attack Class submarine contract.
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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has announced €555 million (AUD$830 million) would be paid to Naval Group after completing negotiations to compensate for the termination of the former SEA1000 contract to deliver 12 diesel-powered Attack Class submarines to the Royal Australian Navy.
The former Morrison government had scrapped the deal in favour of a nuclear-powered alternative promised under the AUKUS agreement.
The decision received bipartisan support from the then Labor opposition, but caught the ire of French President Emmanuel Macron, who temporarily withdrew French ambassadors from Canberra.
When asked by an Australian journalist if he felt misled by former prime minister Morrison, President Macron famously replied, “I don’t think, I know”.
Prime Minister Albanese has described the settlement as “fair and equitable”, adding he looks forward to “moving forward” with Australia’s relationship with France.
“Australia and France share deep historical ties of friendship, forged in common sacrifice in war,” he said.
“We are both vibrant democracies, committed to upholding human rights and fundamental values.”
Prime Minister Albanese stressed the importance of the enduring relationship between the nations, particularly amid mounting tensions in the Indo-Pacific.
“We deeply respect France’s role and active engagement in the Indo-Pacific,” the prime minister added.
“Given the gravity of the challenges that we face both in the region and globally, it is essential that Australia and France once again unite to defend our shared principles and interests: the primacy of international law; respect for sovereignty; the rejection of all forms of coercion; and taking resolute action on climate change.”
Prime Minister Albanese has accepted an invitation to meet with President Macron in Paris.
“I look forward to taking up President Macron’s invitation to visit Paris at an early opportunity, and to continuing to work closely with him as we deepen the strategic partnership between our nations,” he said.