Submarine Construction Yard Works caps off a momentous year for AUKUS

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The Hon Richard Marles MP

Deputy Prime Minister

Minister for Defence

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02 6277 7800

The Hon Pat Conroy MP

Minister for Defence Industry

Minister for International Development and the Pacific

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(02) 6277 7840

General enquiries

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24 December 2023

The Albanese Government has taken the next significant step towards building nuclear-powered submarines in Australia, marking the commencement of preliminary enabling work at the Submarine Construction Yard at Osborne, South Australia.

Australian Naval Infrastructure Pty Ltd (ANI) this week signed a contract with Shamrock Civil to commence construction of a staging and laydown area to support the future construction workforce for the Submarine Construction Yard.

Other preliminary work set to commence in 2024 includes the construction of a pedestrian bridge and road, which will support the movement of thousands of workers during the construction of the yard and build of Australia’s SSN-AUKUS submarines.

The works were assessed through an Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 standard referral process, which included a period of public consultation.

At the peak, up to 4,000 workers will be employed to design and build the infrastructure for the Submarine Construction Yard in Osborne.

A further 4,000-5,500 direct jobs are expected to be created to build the nuclear-powered submarines in South Australia, when the program reaches its peak. This is almost double the jobs forecast for the Attack class program.

This announcement caps off a momentous nine months for the AUKUS pathway:

  • In March, we announced the pathway through which Australia would acquire a conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarine capability.
  • The Australian Submarine Agency was launched, which will be responsible for the management and oversight of the nuclear-powered submarine program.
  • Australian submariners and industry workers have commenced training and placements in both the United States and United Kingdom.
  • United States nuclear-powered submarines have visited HMAS Stirling in Western Australia, building our capacity in the lead up to Submarine Rotational Force-West (SRF-West) from 2027.
  • The Australian and South Australian Governments reached agreement on a land exchange for the new Submarine Construction Yard at Osborne and the future site of the Skills and Training Academy.
  • The South Australian Defence Industry Workforce and Skills Report and Action Plan was handed down, delivering a detailed strategy to grow and sustain the state’s defence industry workforce for the future.
  • More than 4,000 Commonwealth supported places in STEM courses were allocated across 16 Australian universities, to help grow the AUKUS workforce.
  • Five pieces of legislation in support of the AUKUS pathway have been introduced to Parliament, including; the Defence Trade Controls Amendment Bill 2023, the Australian Nuclear Power Safety Bill 2023 and the Safeguarding Australia’s Military Secrets Bill.
  • The United States Congress passed the 2024 National Defense Authorisation Act which, among other significant enabling provisions, authorises the transfer of Virginia class submarines to Australia, for the first time in US history.

Australia’s acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines is the most significant industrial undertaking in our nation’s history. The important work that has happened over the past year will continue to progress at pace into the future.

Quotes attributable to Deputy Prime Minister, Richard Marles:

“The start of enabling works at Osborne is another important milestone for the Australian Government as we progress at pace towards commencing construction of the first SSN-AUKUS by the end of the decade.

“The Submarine Construction Yard at Osborne will employ thousands of Australians to work on Australia’s SSN-AUKUS submarines and this announcement is a key first step towards realising those important local jobs.

“There is an enormous amount of work that has occurred over the last 12 months towards realising the AUKUS pathway and that progress will continue in 2024.”

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

“This is yet another milestone that makes good on our commitment to construct conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines in South Australia.

“It underscores our comprehensive plan to deliver the AUKUS program at pace, including through local submarine construction, while ensuring Australians and their economic interests are protected.

“Not only will this create local jobs, it also helps deliver the most critical defence capability acquisition in our nation’s history.”

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