SENATOR THE HON PENNY WONG

ACTING LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

LABOR SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA

THE HON RICHARD MARLES MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR DEFENCE

MEMBER FOR CORIO

SENATOR THE HON KIM CARR

SHADOW MINISTER FOR INNOVATION, INDUSTRY, SCIENCE AND RESEARCH

SENATOR FOR VICTORIA

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE

20 December 2016

LIBERALS MUST COME CLEAN ON SUBS JOBS

TOPIC: FUTURE SUBMARINES

Despite the Australian and French Governments signing a key agreement for the Future Submarines program neither government has been able to confirm how many Australian jobs will be created out of the project.

The reports today that the Turnbull Government will commit to creating Australian jobs and use local content are vague at best and any commitment must be backed up by verified evidence from the Department of Defence.

Under questioning during Senate Estimates in October, the Secretary of the Department of Defence categorically denied that there were any targets for local content on the Future Submarines.

Senator KIM CARR: What is the level of local content?

Mr Richardson : The local content will be maximised, but we do not have a specific target percentile.

[Senate Estimates Hansard,19 October 2016]

Upon repeated questioning, Mr Richardson categorically refused to estimate how much local content the project would entail, despite promises made by Minister Pyne in the lead up to the 2016 election that ninety percent of the work would be done in Australia.

Senator KIM CARR: In May, Minister Pyne said that the government was ‘in a proper commercial negotiation with DCNS’ and that, according to DCNS, ‘probably less than 10 per cent of the work will be done outside Australia’. Ninety per cent will be built in Australia.

Mr Richardson : We are not prepared to put a percentile on it. If others wish to—fine. But at this point we are very much in the early stages of design work, and it would be premature for us to be making further judgements about that at this point. 

[Senate Estimates Hansard,19 October 2016]

These statements demonstrate the lengths that senior Turnbull Government ministers were prepared to go in order to secure votes in marginal seats and cast serious doubt on statements reported today about the volume of local content in the project.

The Turnbull Government must come clean and provide real evidence, not just slogans and empty promises, that Australian industry participation will be maximised on the Future Submarines project.