Policy & Politics |
Office of the Minister for Defence

Minister for Defence Statement: Future Submarine Program

Minister for Defence
Senator for Western Australia

As Minister for Defence, I am proud of this Government’s commitment to build 12 Attack class submarines here in Australia.

I am disappointed by the comments attributed to Naval Group Australia on the Future Submarine Program as they do not reflect the strong collaboration between Naval Group and Australian Industry on this program of national significance. 

Our Government will hold Naval Group to account for the commitments they signed on for to work with Australia’s world-leading defence and shipbuilding industry.

In making the commitment to the Future Submarine Program, there are shared mutual expectations and obligations with both Defence and Naval Group. The maximisation of Australian industry involvement through all phases of the submarine program is one of these, which is outlined in the Government’s Strategic Partnering Agreement with Naval Group.

The national security significance of this commitment however is not just between Defence and Naval Group, but between Australia and France.

President Macron reiterated this mutual commitment at the launch of the Suffren in July 2019 at Cherbourg, where he said this agreement “is above all a partnership between governments, a partnership between nations.”

Tomorrow, during the Munich Security Conference, I will meet again with my French counterpart, Minister Florence Parly, to continue discussions on this ongoing commitment.

I will reinforce the importance of delivering this 50-year, once in a generation program on time, on budget and in accordance with our very clear requirements to lift Australian industry capability across the program.

The Government remains focused on the thorough execution of the design phase of the Program and the preparation for construction. We are engaging with Australian industry, and over 130 Australian companies and organisations already have subcontracts as part of the program.

Defence is in regular contact with Naval Group, Naval Group Australia and Lockheed Martin Australia. This is a highly complex project which is being carefully managed to get this crucial capability right.

As the Auditor General recently concluded, through the Strategic Partnering Agreement, Defence has established a fit‑for‑purpose strategic partnership framework that addresses the Government’s objectives for the Attack Class Submarine Program, and has adopted appropriate risk management methodologies and mitigation strategies.

Unlike Labor whose policy not to build a single naval ship in Australia would have meant zero Australian industry content, we’re getting on with the job of providing critical ADF capability to protect our national interests.

Media Contacts:
Nicky Hamer (Minister Reynolds’ Office): +61 437 989 927

Authorised by Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC, Minister for Defence, Australia.