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South Australia, Western Australia declared big winners from surface fleet review

The Deputy Prime Minister, the Honourable Richard Marles MP, addresses the media during a press conference onboard HMAS Canberra at Fleet Base East, Sydney, NSW. Photo: Kym Smith

South Australia is going to be the “big winners” from the surface fleet review recommendations, according to Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles.

South Australia is going to be the “big winners” from the surface fleet review recommendations, according to Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles.

The comments follow the recent announcement on 20 February of the federal government’s response to the independent review into the Royal Australian Navy’s surface fleet. Under the recommendations, the Royal Australian Navy’s surface fleet is expected to more than double in size to 26 major surface combatants.

Newly announced acquisitions from the surface fleet review include three Hobart Class air warfare destroyers with upgraded air defence and strike capabilities, six Hunter Class frigates with undersea warfare and strike capabilities, 11 general purpose frigates, six new large optionally crewed surface vessels, and 25 minor war vessels consisting of six Arafura Class offshore patrol vessels, eight Evolved Cape Class patrol boats, and 11 ECCPBs for the Australian Border Force.

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The Navy will retain the six remaining Anzac Class frigates with the two oldest ships to be decommissioned as per their planned service life.

“South Australia is going to be big winners from this deal. The construction of the Hunter Class frigates there at Osborne will sustain at least 2,000 jobs and create at least 500 new jobs over next decade,” according to Prime Minister Albanese, speaking to FIVEaa’s Breakfast radio on 22 February.

“Combined with, there’s going to be 4,000 jobs created to build the new submarine construction yard there in South Australia, then more than 4,000 direct jobs to build the nuclear-powered subs in Australia as well.

“So, I think South Australia will be big winners from this project. Our job is to look after the Australian national interests. And that’s precisely what we are doing to ensure that we’ll go to more than double, essentially, our Navy surface fleet over the period, up to 26 major surface fleet naval vessels.

“This is a big win for South Australia and for Western Australia. Those two states in particular is where we will focus.

“This will be a huge win for South Australia and will ensure that naval shipbuilding continues to play an ever-greater role in your great state and your great city.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Richard Marles, speaking to ABC Adelaide Breakfast on 21 February, said South Australia had not been shortchanged from the surface fleet review recommendations.

“(The surface fleet review recommendations are) one of the most significant announcements that has ever been made which underpins, in a real way, Australian defence industry and, in this case, South Australian defence industry,” he said.

“At its most basic, this is committing to build the six Hunter Class frigates here in South Australia at the Osborne naval shipyard. That takes surface shipbuilding through to the early 2040s, and then a commitment to build the successor to the Hobart Class, the air warfare destroyers, after that. That’s a multi-decade pipeline of work.

“Now, that hasn’t been committed to before. That is thousands of jobs at Osborne. The money has been put in place to do that. We haven’t seen that happen before, where a government has actually announced all the funding right there when the announcement has been made.

“I mean, it really does set this apart from announcements that have been made in the past. This gives South Australia certainty and clarity, and that’s why I think you saw, you know, such euphoria down at Osborne yesterday when this announcement was made, why it’s been welcomed by the companies involved, why it’s been welcomed by the South Australian premier.”

Robert Dougherty

Robert Dougherty

Robert is a senior journalist who has previously worked for Seven West Media in Western Australia, as well as Fairfax Media and Australian Community Media in New South Wales. He has produced national headlines, photography and videography of emergency services, business, community, defence and government news across Australia. Robert graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, Majoring in Public Relations and Journalism at Curtin University, attended student exchange program with Fudan University and holds Tier 1 General Advice certification for Kaplan Professional. Reach out via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via LinkedIn.
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