South Australia locked in submarine construction yard and skills academy
March 16, 2023
Photo: Defence Connect
A submarine construction yard and training academy have been promised to Osborne, South Australia under a new commitment between SA Premier Peter Malinauskas and the federal government.
Both projects were announced at a Cooperation Agreement signing attended by the SA Premier and acting Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Richard Marles in Adelaide on 15 March.
Under the agreement, there will be an exchange of land for the development of a new submarine construction yard, and a skills and training academy campus in Osborne. There is also potential for a land exchange of a Department of Defence-owned and leased land at Cultana.
The academy will be co-designed by the Commonwealth and the state, and developed in consultation with industry and unions. Funding will be made available to generate a workforce close to the construction yard.
Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Richard Marles said South Australian industry will receive a major uplift at the forefront of one of Australia’s greatest industrial undertakings.
“As the home of Australian nuclear-powered submarine construction, South Australia will have a vital role in delivering one of the greatest industrial endeavours Australia has undertaken,” he said.
“The Albanese government could not want for a better partner in South Australia to deliver our next-generation nuclear-powered submarines, which will deliver jobs and benefit the economy for generations to come.”
South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas said developing this industry will deliver jobs and benefit South Australia’s economy for generations to come.
“AUKUS will transform South Australia’s economy for generations, but work begins right now,” he said.
“As Premier, I am determined to seize this opportunity, which is why this agreement with the Commonwealth is so important.
“It is all about delivering tangible outcomes to build the highly skilled workforce and the infrastructure we need to make the AUKUS program a reality. I thank the Commonwealth government for its collaborative approach.”
Over the next four years there will also be an increase in Commonwealth supported places to South Australia universities. Focusing on STEM disciplines in professional mechanical, electrical, chemical engineering, computer science, mathematics, chemistry, physics, psychology, and management.
The Federal government will also allocate an additional 800 places to South Australia universities over the next four years, with the first 200 places commencing in 2024.
“Australia’s nuclear-powered submarine program will generate many thousands of jobs across its life. Building the industrial workforce will be crucial to the success of this endeavour,” said Minister for Defence Industry, Pat Conroy.
“We will work with the South Australian government, industry, and unions to attract, develop, qualify, and retain a highly-skilled trades, technical, scientific, and engineering workforce, and invest in new infrastructure and support the growth of industry capabilities to build and sustain nuclear-powered submarines in Australia.”
Minister for Skills and Training, Brendan O’Connor, said a highly skilled and productive workforce is critical to the successful delivery and sustainment of new nuclear submarine capabilities.
“Australia’s vocational education and training sector already contributes significantly to our naval shipbuilding and sustainment sector, providing diverse skills requirements ranging from complex engineering and design roles, project management and logistics roles, through to highly advanced technician and trade roles,” he said.
“In the midst of a skills crisis, we are aware of the obstacles in our path, and we will work with the South Australian government and industry and tertiary education providers to ensure we have the people capability and capacity to build, maintain, and sustain our Defence assets.”