Op-ed: Defence Industry in South Australia

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The Hon Melissa Price MP

Minister for Defence Industry

Minister for Science and Technology

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8 February 2021

South Australia and the Osborne Naval Shipyard are crucial to our plan to develop a world-class Australian shipbuilding industry.

Osborne is home to significant achievements in our nation’s shipbuilding history.

It is where the Collins class submarines and our Hobart class Air Warfare Destroyers were built.  

Now, the Government is upgrading Osborne and constructing new, state-of-the-art shipbuilding facilities.

The first two Arafura class Offshore Patrol Vessels are currently being built in Osborne.

Planning and design works are underway for the new Attack class submarines and Hunter class frigates.

By the end of the decade, these two programs are expected to directly employ more than 4,000 people in South Australia, with many more employed in the supply chain.

The National Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise is a hugely ambitious nation-building project, which, by 2030, will support 15,000 jobs across the nation.

Finding the people with the right skills to fill those jobs is my most important priority.

The Morrison Government-funded Naval Shipbuilding College will help ensure there is a steady stream of skilled and qualified workers to support the industry.

In recent months, the NSC has worked to find new defence industry careers for staff facing retrenchment in the aviation and automotive sectors.

Although shipbuilding is at the centre of South Australian defence industry, there are many more dimensions to defence investment in the state that are already delivering results.

I am particularly excited by the enormous potential for South Australia’s contribution in the space domain, an area that the South Australian Government is clearly enthused by as well.

This potential is clear evidence of the depth of South Australia’s defence industry.

BAE Systems in Adelaide is supporting and upgrading the Jindalee Over the Horizon Radar – Australia’s locally developed, world leading advanced sensor system – generating significant investment in Australia and pushing the boundaries of new technology and science.

Australian companies working with Defence and BAE to deliver this advanced technology include Lockheed Martin Australia and local small-to-medium enterprises like Daronmont at Mawson Lakes and Schach RF in Magill.

The work is also offering opportunities to start-ups, like Adelaide’s CryoClock, while nurturing partnerships with universities to promote postgraduate training in high-frequency radar.

There is also the second phase of the Land 154, the counter improvised explosive project.

It is developing protection against improvised explosive devices for personnel and vehicles, and includes a deployable forensics laboratory capability.

The project has seen $37.5 million to date spent in South Australia and the involvement of Daronmont Technologies and Mt Barker firm Zenith Custom Creations.

All of these are just some of the examples that demonstrate the diversity of the opportunities provided by defence industry in South Australia.

My ambition is to ensure that we develop a workforce to capitalize on these opportunities.


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