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October 27, 2021

The Morrison-Joyce Government has confirmed in Senate Estimates this morning that they have sneakily broken their promise to build the Navy’s new Pacific support vessel in Australia.


The Prime Minister first announced that the Government would acquire a dedicated vessel for use in the Pacific including for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in November 2018.


At that time, the then Defence Minister Christopher Pyne said “I strongly anticipate it will be built in Australia” as part of the continuous naval shipbuilding plan.


This was then confirmed in the 2020 Force Structure Plan which discusses “the acquisition of another vessel built in Australia to support the Australian Government’s Pacific Step-up initiatives”.


Yet questioning from Labor in Senate Estimates today revealed that the Morrison-Joyce Government has now decided to buy a vessel from overseas.


“Mr Morrison loves to make flashy announcements, but when there’s bad news to deal with he is nowhere to be seen,” Shadow Defence Minister, Brendan O’Connor said. 


“Instead, officials confirmed that the only public acknowledgement that these vessels would not be Australian made was when it dropped off a factsheet outlining work to be completed in WA.”

“This is a Government that can’t be trusted to keep their promises, and their stuff-ups have yet again failed local defence industry workers,” Shadow Minister for Defence Industry, Matt Keogh said.
“Mr Morrison can’t be trusted to keep his promises, and once again WA defence industry workers have been let down.”
Shadow Minister Assisting for Defence, Pat Conroy said this was yet another example of the Morrison-Joyce Government being all announcement and no delivery.
“They clearly had no intention of coming clean on this decision, and we don’t know when it was made,” Mr Conroy said.
“It is yet another blow for Australian shipbuilding workers and the local defence industry who are already reeling from the cancellation of the Future Submarines Program.”