Western Australia home for Australia's first nuclear-powered submarines

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Related ministers and contacts

The Hon Richard Marles MP

Deputy Prime Minister

Minister for Defence

Media contact


02 6277 7800

The Hon Pat Conroy MP

Minister for Defence Industry

Minister for International Development and the Pacific

Media contact

02 6277 7840

Mark McGowan MP

Premier of Western Australia

Ministerial contact

Mark Scott - 0437 170 385

Paul Papalia MP

WA Minister for Defence Industry

Ministerial contact

Joey Catanzaro - 0428 605 105

Defence Media

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14 March 2023

Western Australia will be at the forefront of Australia’s AUKUS Pathway, continuing its proud tradition as the home of Australian submarines.

This multi-generational undertaking to acquire and operate conventionally-armed, nuclear-powered sovereign submarines will see significant benefits for jobs and the economy in the West.

Over the next decade, the Australian Government will invest up to $8 billion to expand HMAS Stirling, creating around 3,000 direct jobs.

Importantly, this work begins right away, with the benefits to flow-on for decades to come.

  • Beginning this year, Western Australia will receive more frequent port visits by United States nuclear-powered submarines, with the United Kingdom to follow from 2026. This will further strengthen Australia’s experience with SSNs in Western Australia.
  • As early as 2027, HMAS Stirling will host the rotational presence of UK and US nuclear-powered submarines. This initiative, known as ‘Submarine Rotational Force-West’ (SRF-West), will develop Australia’s ability to operate, maintain and safely steward our future SSNs by deploying our Navy personnel on visiting UK and US boats where they will gain at-sea experience with naval nuclear propulsion.
  • From the early 2030s HMAS Stirling will house Australia’s first sovereign SSN capability – the US Virginia class submarines.

Supporting what will be the biggest capability acquisition in our history, will require record investment.

Upgrades to HMAS Stirling over the next 10 years will include wharf upgrades, operational maintenance, logistics and training facilities, as well as opportunities for supporting infrastructure outside HMAS Stirling.

Additionally, 500 direct jobs will be created to sustain the SRF-West initiative over the period 2027-2032.

We recognise the need to attract, develop and retain a highly-skilled workforce in Western Australia to underpin this project.

The Albanese Labor Government will work with the Western Australian Government to develop a skills and training program, leveraging existing relationships with WA vocational and tertiary institutions.

Quotes attributable to Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon. Richard Marles MP:

“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.”

“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.”

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon. Pat Conroy MP:

“Western Australia will play a critical role in delivering conventionally-armed, nuclear-powered submarines to Australia.”

“The investment in the state to support this historic program will benefit local industry and create thousands of jobs, with flow-on effects for the wider WA economy.”

Quotes attributable to WA Premier Mark McGowan:

“Growing Western Australia’s defence industry represents an enormous opportunity to diversify our 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 – and 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.”

Quotes attributable to WA Minister for Defence Industry Paul Papalia:

“The WA Government has long been a proponent of more defence industry investment in our state and we are encouraged by what this announcement means for Western Australia.

“Maintenance work on visiting UK and U.S. 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.

“Typically, about 70 percent 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.”

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