Additional university places to grow Australia's AUKUS workforce

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The Hon Richard Marles MP

Deputy Prime Minister

Minister for Defence

Media contact

02 6277 7800

The Hon Jason Clare MP

Minister for Education

Release content

29 November 2023

Thousands more students will train at 16 Australian universities through the allocation of an additional 4,001 Commonwealth supported places in STEM courses to help grow the skilled workforce required to deliver the AUKUS nuclear-powered submarine pathway.

The Albanese Government is investing $128 million to fund the extra university places over four years, starting in 2024. These additional places will apply to 38 STEM-related courses, designed to attract more students to train in engineering, mathematics, chemistry and physics.

Students will be eligible to apply and commence their studies for STEM-related courses from the beginning of next year.

Of the 4,001 additional places, over 1,000 will be allocated to South Australian universities to support the construction of Australia’s conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines in Adelaide.

Australia’s acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines is a national endeavour and targeted training to meet the future workforce needs of the submarine program will be vital to supporting this capability.

As part of the allocation, universities were assessed against the ability of proposed courses to meet the increased demand for advanced technical skills. Other criteria included planned investments to engage quality teachers, the expected level of unmet demand from students, plans to support the expansion of enrolment levels and initiatives to increase participation of students from underrepresented backgrounds.

To find out more, visit the Department of Education website.



Places allocated

The University of Adelaide


RMIT University


University of Wollongong


University of New South Wales


Flinders University


Curtin University


The University of Queensland


The University of Melbourne


Macquarie University


The University of Newcastle


Western Sydney University


Charles Darwin University


The Australian National University


Charles Sturt University


The University of Western Australia


Murdoch University



Quotes attributable to Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles:

“The Australians who will help to build and maintain our conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines are at the heart of this historic, nation-building project.

“AUKUS represents one of the most significant industrial endeavours in our country’s history and the Albanese Government is already investing in the young Australians who will make up our future workforce.

“It is critical we make the investments now to ensure we have the skilled workforce to deliver the nuclear-powered submarine program.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Education Jason Clare:

“We need more young Australians studying STEM subjects and developing the skills we need for the AUKUS program.

“These extra 4,001 places are on top of the 20,000 additional Commonwealth supported places already funded by the Albanese Government to give more people a crack at going to university.”

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