AIDN STATEMENT ON AUKUS NUCLEAR SUBMARINES
March 23, 2023
Canberra: The Australian Industry and Defence Network (AIDN) welcomes todays tripartite announcement on the proposed pathway to the construction of an Australian AUKUS nuclear submarine.
AIDN congratulates the Prime Minister, Minister for Defence, Minister for Defence Industry, the Secretary of the Department of Defence, Greg Moriarty and VADM Jonathon Mead AO RAN, for the work that has been achieved since the announcement 18 months ago on Australia acquiring a nuclear submarine. AIDN looks forward to having the opportunity to work closely with Government and Defence on ensuring that Australian Industry, in particular the SME community, are able to compete in a fair and equitable way to secure meaningful work in this program. AIDN commits to engaging in a constructive manner with the Albanese Government, Defence and industry stakeholders, to ensure that this endeavour is successful.
Today’s announcement will fundamentally transform Australia as a nation and this cannot be understated. Today the Albanese Government committed Australia to becoming the 7th country to operate nuclear submarines, the ultimate deterrent capability for a nation. Today the ADF and industry have begun a journey that will completely redefine these organisations, this is a national transformation program.
It is now imperative that the Albanese Government commits to ensuring that as much activity as possible is undertaken by Australian companies. This is a unique opportunity for Australia, the US and the UK to develop a common supply chain to ensure that the full benefits of AUKUS can be realised. The Albanese Government can ensure that a truly sovereign national industrial capability can be achieved. It is imperative that the Australian Government works closely with our partner Governments to ensure that Australian Industry is front and centre for all discussions. There needs to be a robust mechanism in place to ensure that the required transfer of IP, technical knowledge and knowhow is transferred seamlessly between the partner countries.
AIDN will support the Albanese Government and Defence in achieving this outcome, the AIDN membership which is comprised of the best companies Australia has to offer, the AIDN membership provides the full range of capability required, from professional services, engineering services, education, training, manufacturing, program support, combat and electronic systems and componentry that this program will need to utilise, all these companies need is the support of Government to ensure that they can be given the opportunity to do so.
Going forward there will be a significant requirement to achieve new certifications, the highest levels of cyber and IT security and export/import requirements, in order to become part of this supply chain.
The Australian workforce will be required to upskill in capacity and capability and the numbers of individuals for this program, across all disciplines will be significant.
The notion of nation building is often talked about, with today’s announcement there can no doubt that we are now undertaking a truly nation building program, that will require all parties to work together in a collaborative manner. If the nation does not work together then quite simple we will fail in this endeavour.
It is vital that a robust and auditable policy and procurement framework is implemented to ensure the Albanese Government’s AUKUS capability requirements are achieved as efficiently as possible, particularly in light of the rapidly evolving geopolitical climate. The future of the Australian Defence Industry depends on a framework where their role in delivering capability requirements is clear, and the procurement process is efficient and accessible to local industry and importantly, SMEs.
Today’s announcement will shape the outcomes for Australia both strategically and for the Australian Defence Industrial base potentially for decades. If there is not careful consideration for the role of the Australian Defence Industry, then this will be a failure for the Australian Defence Industry and the future of defence innovation and sovereign advanced manufacturing.
If Australia is to achieve a truly sovereign industrial base, then the Australian Defence Industry must be designed into every aspect of AUKUS.
Brent Clark, Chief Executive Officer of AIDN said: “AIDN is proud to demonstrate to Australia’s political leaders that there is a backbone of national resilience and sovereign defence capability in this country, and we are prepared to work side by side with the Albanese Government and the Department of Defence to accelerate capability delivery and build more durable supply chains here onshore”.
“We are keen to ensure that today’s AUKUS announcement ensures our Industry has the opportunity to demonstrate the integral role we play in our national economy through our sovereign supply chains; modern manufacturing practices; research and innovation; skills development; and regional employment” Mr Clark said.