National shipbuilding plan key to foster national economy
The defence industry said a report released today by Deloitte Access Economics serves to highlight the importance of a national shipbuilding plan to ensure all shipbuilding projects deliver the best outcomes for the Defence Force and maximise economic benefits for Australia.
Australian Made Defence campaign spokesperson, Kerryn Smith, said while recent shipbuilding projects will be a positive boost for the sector, they do not yet represent a truly long-term, continuous, national shipbuilding plan.
“Recent government announcements for Australia’s Future Submarines, Future Frigates, offshore patrol vessels and Pacific patrol boats while positive for the local industry, they are still projects in isolation,” said Ms Smith.
“Industry would like to see a national plan that links not only these current projects, and the planning for these projects, but considers projects well into the future such as the Future Frigates and the Future Submarines.
These projects need to be linked together in a coherent strategy, incorporating aspects such as workforce and skills planning, infrastructure and technology and research investment.
For Australian defence industry to reach its full potential as the cornerstone of innovation and play a role in driving the Australian economy, it cannot rely on Australian naval contracts alone.
“The industry must be globally competitive and look to exports as a viable option and a long-term plan must also include non-naval government vessels to fill the gaps in between naval projects.
The Future Submarines will bring benefits to the whole of Australia, through both the national supply chain of the initial build and through the longer term through-life-support in WA and NSW once they are in service.
The defence industry is not a ‘band-aid’ solution for the declining automotive sector, it represents a much greater opportunity to boost our nation’s advanced manufacturing innovations and skills.
Through collaboration, government, Defence and industry can work together to develop, implement and deliver a truly long-term national shipbuilding plan with strategic oversight, the benefits of which will transfer successfully across our economy,” said Ms Smith.