The acquisition of a new fleet of nuclear submarines has been unveiled under “historic” defence procurement plans by the Albanese Government.
The Albanese Government has released the Defence Strategic Review, the Government’s response to the Review, and the National Defence Statement 2023.
The Review sets an ambitious agenda for necessary reforms to Defence’s structure.
It outlines Australia’s strategic policy, defence planning, and resourcing over the coming decades.
Six priority areas were identified for immediate action and include the acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines through AUKUS, improving the ADF’s ability to operate from Australia’s northern bases, and lifting the capacity to rapidly translate disruptive new technologies into ADF capability. The acquisition of three submarines from the US is expected to cost taxpayers $368 billion.
For Tasmania, the review has created a procurement blow for the local industry with a descaling of a project to produce infantry fighting vehicles.
Minister for Advanced Manufacturing and Defence Industries, Madeleine Ogilvie has gone into bat for Tasmanian businesses who will be reeling the decision to reduce the scope of the LAND 400 Phase 3 – Land Combat Vehicle System acquisition from up to 450 to 129 vehicles.
“I have already spoken with Australian Defence Industries Minister, Pat Conroy in relation to the Defence Strategic Review report, and outlined the case for Tasmanian manufacturers and businesses,” Minister Ogilvie said.
“Our local defence industry has been long awaiting the outcome of this review, and it is absolutely essential that the Tasmanian industry and our people are able to participate in some of the largest defence procurement efforts Australia has undertaken in decades.”
The army had planned to acquire up to 450 infantry fighting vehicles, costing up to $27 billion.
The review has identified $42 billion in additional defence spending over 10 years. The total defence budget will be known when the Federal budget is released in May.
An article in The Australian Financial Review, highlights concerns that Australia’s push for speed and efficiency in defence procurement could “erode” the local defence industry. Concern raised with the Federal Government’s new defence plans suggests that the current focus on speed and cost could prioritise foreign suppliers over local ones, leading to a loss of jobs and a reduction in the Australia’s sovereign capabilities.