Stephen Smith MP
Minister for Defence
Defence SA Dinner
28 June 2011
(check against delivery)
Thank you Mike Rann for that introduction.
I acknowledge the Governor of South Australia, Kevin Scarce.
I also acknowledge my Ministerial colleague Jason Clare, the Minister for Defence Materiel, and Kevin Foley, South Australian Minister for Defence Industries.
I am pleased to join you tonight and am glad to be back in South Australia.
I was here in January with my United Kingdom counterpart, Secretary of State for Defence Dr Liam Fox, when we visited the facilities at ASC and the Defence Science and Technology Organisation at Edinburgh.
I returned in mid May with my Cabinet colleague, the Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson, to release, together with Premier Rann, the Final Report into the review of the future management and use of the Woomera Prohibited Area, the implementation of which will be a great thing for South Australia.
The main purpose of my visit this week is, of course, to open the Defence and Industry Conference tomorrow morning.
Such Conferences are very important as they provide industry with the opportunity to discuss with Defence acquisition and sustainment strategies to deliver capability to the Australian Defence Force.
South Australia and its defence industry continues to play a most important role in the delivery of Defence capability.
The six Collins Class Submarines were built in South Australia and major maintenance activities for these submarines continue to be performed here.
The Australian Government has also committed to assembling the Future Submarines in South Australia.
Those 12 submarines will involve a major design and construction program spanning three decades, Australia’s largest single Defence capability project.
Assembly in South Australia will benefit from the experience gained in building and sustaining the Collins class.
Construction of Navy’s three new Air Warfare Destroyers is also currently underway.
The project is valued at around $8 billion, and over $2 billion will be spent in South Australia alone for construction of the destroyers.
The current South Australian workforce associated with the project is around 800, with estimates of 1000 direct jobs to be created over the decade.
There are over 4,000 Defence personnel employed in South Australia, with Annual Defence budget expenditure in South Australia currently in excess of $2 billion.
7 RAR, a regular infantry battalion of the Australian Army, was relocated to RAAF Base Edinburgh earlier this year.
Relocation of 7RAR involved significant upgrades to Edinburgh Defence Precinct facilities, at a total cost of around $600 million.
It is bringing an additional thousand personnel and their families to Adelaide, particularly to the North.
As I mentioned earlier, Martin Ferguson, the Premier and I recently announced new access arrangements to the Woomera Prohibited Area.
The Woomera Prohibited Area is highly prospective, with estimates that more than $35 billion worth of developments in iron ore, gold and uranium projects may be possible over the next decade.
Defence will remain the primary user of the Woomera Prohibited Area, but greater access will be introduced to those areas of least Defence use.
The new management framework for the Woomera Prohibited Area will allow us to better balance Australia’s national security and economic interests.
This is just a small snapshot of the important role South Australia and its Government plays in contributing to Defence outcomes.
The commitment of the South Australian Government in supporting Defence activities benefits both South Australia and the nation as a whole.
Thank you for the opportunity to join you tonight.
Please enjoy the rest of your evening.