Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Minister for Defence Stephen Smith, Minister for Climate Change, Industry and Innovation Greg Combet and Minister for Defence Materiel Mike Kelly today released the Future Submarine Industry Skills Plan (‘the plan’).
The Government is committed to acquiring twelve Future Submarines to be assembled in Adelaide. The Future Submarine project will be the biggest and most complex Defence project Australia has ever embarked upon. It will involve hundreds of companies and thousands of workers. It will involve Federal and State Governments, Defence, Industry and Universities working together for generations to come.
The Government’s response to the plan also addresses key issues in the long term management of the Australian naval shipbuilding industry.
The Government will assure Australia’s maritime security capability while providing more certainty to Australian industry through consideration of a smoother, coordinated shipbuilding program that will provide a more stable pattern of work for the industry and retain critical skills for the future through a range of specific measures:
- In September 2012, Ministers announced a re-baselining of the AWD construction schedule following extensive consultation with Australia’s shipbuilding industry and Navy, involving extending the keel to keel interval to 18 months between each ship.
- The Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance will reallocate construction of four AWD steel hull blocks from the Forgacs shipyard in Newcastle to the BAE Systems shipyard in Melbourne. This recognises that BAE Systems has the capacity and skill to successfully take on an increased share of the workload. Additional work on existing hull blocks is being provided to Forgacs to ensure there is no reduction of work in Newcastle.
- The Government will at the earliest opportunity replace Australia’s supply ships HMAS Success and HMAS Sirius. This will include examination of options for local, hybrid and overseas build or the leasing of an existing vessel.
- The Government has brought forward the replacement of Australia’s Armidale Class Patrol Boats, to be assembled in Australia.
- The Government will also give consideration to bringing forward the replacement of the current Anzac Class frigates with a new Future Frigate to be assembled in Australia.This will include further investment in the Australian-developed phased array radar technology already in service in the ANZAC Class frigates.
- The Government has also made key decisions on the Future Submarine program, including narrowing the options to be considered and has directed further work on a new Submarine Propulsion Energy Support and Integration Facility to be based in Adelaide.
- The Government will also implement the Future Submarine Industry Skills Plan.
In May 2012, the Government released the terms of reference for a plan to identify what is required to build and sustain the skills required to successfully deliver Australia’s Future Submarine capability.
The plan was developed by the Chief Executive Officer of the Defence Materiel Organisation and supported by an Expert Industry Panel, headed by Mr David Mortimer AO, that included the CEOs of the major ship construction companies and systems houses, unions, industry bodies and other government organisations.
The development of the plan was informed by research and benchmarking undertaken by the DMO team and expert industry advisers. It was the subject of broad consultation with State Governments, Australian industry, unions, industry associations and Universities.
In December 2012, the Government announced it had received the plan and would release it this year.
The Government has today released the plan which reaffirms its commitment to enhancing and maintaining the necessary skills, expertise and capacity in Australia’s naval shipbuilding industry to ensure successful delivery and sustainment of Australia’s future naval capabilities, particularly the Future Submarine.
The Future Submarine Industry Skills Plan presents a practical long-term approach to the management of naval shipbuilding in Australia and sets out a new way for Defence to do business. It uses future naval shipbuilding projects as a way to improve skills and productivity in the shipbuilding industry, through practice and innovation.
The skills needed will include systems design, naval architecture, propulsion and combat system engineering, production engineering, project planning and control, production scheduling, material procurement, risk management, budget control, financial accounting, contract management, systems integration, and trade skills such as welder, boilermaker, and electrician.
The Plan makes eleven recommendations to develop and retain the skills needed to build the future submarines and other warships for the future fleet.
The Government supports the recommendations and is confident that the Australian naval shipbuilding industry will be truly world-class. The Government will implement the Future Submarine Industry Skills Plan as it takes decisions on future naval platforms. In doing so, it will balance carefully the capability, resource, workforce and industry factors, as well as implications for competing funding priorities.
These recommendations include:
- Naval shipbuilding projects should be planned with the aim of retaining wherever practical current workforce skills to place Defence and industry in the best position possible at the start of the next generation of projects;
- Defence should structure the Future Submarine Program as a rolling build program, including establishing structured, funded and ongoing engineering and science and technology programs to deal progressively with equipment obsolescence and capability upgrades; and
- The Defence Materiel Organisation should engage in detailed discussion on a frequent and ongoing basis with companies, unions and industry groups involved in naval shipbuilding. No plan should be approved that is not broadly practical in terms of industry capability and capacity, schedule and budget.
The Government is committed to working with industry so that Australia will have a highly capable and productive naval shipbuilding industry capable of delivering the future warships the Australian Defence Force requires to fulfill the tasks requires of it by Government.
The Plan is available at:
Currently, naval shipbuilding in Australia is based in four key areas:
- ASC in Adelaide, where work on the current Air Warfare Destroyer construction program is expected to complete around mid 2019;
- BAE Systems in Melbourne, where work on Air Warfare Destroyer and Landing Helicopter Dock construction programs is expected to complete around mid 2015;
- Forgacs in Newcastle, where work on the Air Warfare Destroyer program is expected to complete in 2015; and
- Austal in Perth, where construction of Customs Cape Class patrol boats is expected to complete around mid 2015.
3 May 2013
PRESS OFFICE (02) 6277 7744
MINISTER SMITH’S OFFICE (02) 6277 7800
MINISTER COMBET'S OFFICE (02) 6277 7920