Australian Business Defence Industry (ABDI) has welcomed the announcement today by
Defence Minister Andrews regarding the development of a national shipbuilding plan, and the potential to implement a continuous naval shipbuilding programme in Australia.
Naval shipbuilding has historically delivered strategic benefits to Australia through the
reduction in strategic and sovereign risks but has been categorised by a stop-start
approach that periodically requires significant reinvestment. The proposed plan provides
a means to align defence and industry needs for the longer term national security.
ABDI particularly welcomes the increased certainty for business that will result from the
proposed continuous-build plan, and the basis that this will provide for the development
of design, systems integration and workforce skills. In addition a continuous build
programme will enable lessons learned to be implemented, management skills to be
enhanced, local innovations to be taken up, and the ship design to evolve over time in a
way most aligned with the developing strategic environment.
Whilst there is no doubt that shipbuilding in Australia needs to be efficient and costeffective,
it is disappointing to see the same old arguments about a 30-40% premium for
building in Australia when studies have shown that this amount is typically returned to the
Government through taxation and other avenues.
Shipbuilding is a complex activity that increases economic activity, provides a platform for
innovation, develops manufacturing skills and supports the development of STEM
capabilities. The Government’s commitment to a continuous national shipbuilding plan is
therefore a win for Defence, for industry, and for the wider Australian society.