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June 02, 2021

In Budget Estimates today it was revealed that the Government has been forced to consider a Plan B because of the major delays with the Future Submarines program.

There has been no certainty about the Future Submarine for some time, yet it is only today we are hearing confirmation that the Government is looking at other options for our submarine capability.

After six Defence Ministers in eight years the Government has bungled this Defence asset contract since the beginning, with it now running a decade late, $40 billion over budget and a reduced commitment to Australian industry content.

Now they have been forced to look at other options.

The Secretary of Defence said a Plan B or “prudent contingency planning” has “been on my mind for some time”.

He said he had “thought a lot more about this issue” because of the challenges with the Future Submarines which required a contingency plan if they were not able to proceed.

He would not be drawn on what other options were being looked at and would not offer further detail on the work Defence was doing on alternative capability pathways, citing security reasons. He did confirm the Government had been briefed on options, with no decision taken. 

Under the current timelines there will not be a single submarine from this program in the water until 2035.

The Prime Minister and the Defence Minister must explain what changes are to be made to the largest Defence contract in our nation’s history.

The Morrison Government tries to talk tough on Defence but fails to deliver the assets Australia needs.