The Australian government will invest $8 billion over the next decade to expand the Perth maritime base, HMAS Stirling, as it provides a home for Australia’s first nuclear-powered submarines from early 2030s.
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The funding is expected to create around 3,000 direct jobs and upgrade wharf facilities, operational maintenance, logistics, training facilities, and supporting infrastructure outside HMAS Stirling.
Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy said the investment in Western Australia will benefit local industry and create jobs with flow-on effects for the wider Western Australia economy.
“Western Australia will play a critical role in delivering conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines to Australia,” he said.
WA Premier Mark McGowan said growing Western Australia’s defence industry represents an enormous opportunity to diversify the economy and build the workforce of the future.
“This investment to support Australia’s defence capabilities will create thousands of local jobs for Western Australians,” he said.
“We’ll work with the federal government to deliver the training and development to put local workers in the box seat for these jobs.
“HMAS Stirling is inextricably linked to my local community in Rockingham, and this investment will ensure Stirling continues to deliver tangible benefits to our state.”
The Garden Island base begins to receive more frequent port visits by the United States’ nuclear-powered submarines this year and the United Kingdom from 2026.
HMAS Stirling will host the rotational presence of the UK and the US nuclear-powered submarines from 2027 under a Submarine Rotational Force-West initiative to develop Australia’s ability to operate, maintain, and safely steward our future SSNs. Around 500 direct jobs will be created to sustain the SRF-West initiative over the period 2027 to 2032.
Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said the federal government will work with the Western Australian government to develop a skills and training program, while cooperating with WA vocational and tertiary institutions.
“Western Australia plays a critical role in the defence of our nation. I am proud to see this continue as we acquire our first Australian nuclear-powered submarines,” he said.
“As our Navy personnel gain experience on visiting nuclear-powered submarines, we are ensuring our defence capability is in the most knowledgeable and trusted hands.”
“Through Submarine Rotational Force-West, we are building the next-generation workforce that will not only operate our future submarines but steward them safely through their operational life.”
WA Minister for Defence Industry Paul Papalia said the WA government is a proponent of defence industry investment in WA.
“Maintenance work on visiting UK and US submarines will see hundreds of Australians employed to provide support and the sheer scale of infrastructure we will need to home port our future submarines, not to mention to host submarines that are visiting or on rotation, will be a boost for our local industry,” he said.
“Typically, about 70 per cent of these Defence programs are spent on sustainment. That’s potentially tens of billions of dollars which will go into the economy and WA will get its fair share.
“We don’t even know exactly how many jobs this will eventually create. But it’s safe to say it will be in the thousands.”