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March 25, 2022

Federal Labor welcomes the announcement that the Government plans to expand the Osborne shipyard, however we caution this is yet again an announcement flagging a future announcement.

Today’s reports show the Federal Government expects lease negotiations with Renewal SA will be finalised after the election and for Australian Naval Infrastructure to have completed assessment work as part of a review due in March 2023. 

This follows numerous claims of job creation over this Government’s decade in office that have never been borne out in reality. 

We do not know what this announcement actually means for South Australian jobs.

In fact, rather than the creation of jobs, the Government’s own data shows over 400 direct shipbuilding jobs have been lost in South Australia this year and Australia’s shipbuilding workforce won’t return to its current level until 2025. 

The cancellation of the Attack Class submarines also resulted in job losses for an estimated 550-600 construction workers at ANI. The Attack Class program affected 3,513 employees on the program, and 600 directly at ASC. We have concerns the Prime Minister’s ‘intention’ to build the submarines in Adelaide will still never eventuate.

Shipbuilding in Australia still faces a ‘Valley of Death’ – the Government promised it  would ‘update the Naval Shipbuilding Plan during 2021’. However, it is now 2022, and no such update has been released.

Today’s announcement of an announcement follows a pattern of politicisation and marketing by the Prime Minister. Recently Scott Morrison made an announcement about a decision on an East Coast submarine base that will be made in 2023 and won’t actually be feasible for more than a decade after that. 

On the eve of the election, the Opposition expects to be briefed on key decisions about the bipartisan AUKUS submarine program.

Today’s reannouncement confirms that after six Defence Ministers in eight years the Prime Minister remains focussed on announcements but no follow up.