"A rolling program of naval shipbuilding will allow us to avoid the boom-bust cycle of recent decades, which has seen hundreds of job losses and local shipyards become increasingly redundant.
"Inclusion in the plan of $1.3billion to develop infrastructure in the nation's shipyards at Osborne in South Australia and Henderson in Western Australia kick-starts this year. These modern, new shipbuilding facilities need to incorporate world-class digital construction processes able to integrate advanced warfighting technologies. These will be essential for the defence of our nation in this increasingly uncertain strategic environment.
"The announcement that the shipbuilding workforce will grow to more than 5,000 by mid-2020 and double over the life of the decades-long sustainment program offers long-term career opportunities for young Australians. Their skilling will centrally revolve around the Naval Shipbuilding College, to commence operation in early 2018.
"A key to the success of the continuous shipbuilding program will be establishment by prime contractors of strong supply chains of Australian SMEs. This is especially critical for the new submarine program. Lead contractor DCNS needs to engage fully with local industry to ensure that it can meet the Federal Government's caste-iron commitment to construction of 12 new submarines at Osborne.
"Australia's national naval shipbuilding enterprise plan will provide the Royal Australian Navy with the capability to undertake demanding operational tasks over many years offering assurance to all of us that our future is more secure," Mr Willox said.
Media Enquiries: Tony Melville – 0419 190 347