Australia’s Future Submarines will be built, maintained and sustained in Australia under Labor’s policy announced today in Adelaide.
The decision of Australia’s Future Submarines is central to the national security interests of Australia until at least 2050 – well beyond the life of any Government.
That’s why it is critical the bipartisanship that existed before the election on where Australia’s Future Submarines are built is restored.
Building and delivering Australia’s new submarine fleet is an inter-generational decision. Future Prime Ministers, from both sides of politics, will have to live with the decision that is taken.
This is the most significant procurement decision of our time, with construction and maintenance costs going beyond many billions of dollars over the life of the project – it is vital that we get it right.
For strategic defence reasons, it is critical that Australia retains an independent capability to build, sustain and maintain our next fleet of submarines.
It is simply too important for flawed selection processes and partisan politics, certainly too important to be used as a bargaining chip in a leadership contest.
Before the last election, the future construction of Australia’s submarine fleet was bipartisan, with both Liberal and Labor declaring the next generation of submarines will be built here. Today’s policy announcement aims to restore that.
To achieve bi-partisan consensus on the selection process for Australia’s Future Submarines, Labor proposes that a Competitive Tender Process, including a Funded Definition Study, is undertaken.
- Request for Proposals (RFP): An RFP process would include the most prominent relevant submarine builders from Germany, France, Japan, and Sweden. The Commonwealth and the Royal Australian Navy would provide high-level submarine capability requirements, including range, endurance and stealth, to the four builders involved. Each participant would be provided $7 million from the Commonwealth for this process, similar to what is already provided by the Government.
- Request for Tender (RFT): Following the RFP, two contenders would be chosen to deliver full submarine concept and fixed priced contract bids to the government. These competitors would receive an additional $8 million each for the RFT, similar to current arrangements. The final bids would include full design concepts, fixed-prices, build schedules (including through life support), guaranteed performance, and Australian access to all intellectual property.
The final selection for the Future Submarine Project would be made by the end of 2016, ensuring there will be no capability gap.
As part of this selection process, Labor would make it a condition that the successful tenderer build Australia’s Future Submarines in Australia.
This rigorous procurement process will ensure Australia secures a future submarine fleet that meets Australia’s defence requirements at the most competitive price for taxpayers.
Labor will also review the organisational structures required to best deliver that outcome.
Labor’s process would include Sweden, which the Government bizarrely excluded from its so called Competitive Evaluation Process without adequate explanation.
If the Government signs up to this process, including the condition of having the submarines built and maintained in Australia, Labor will provide bipartisan support.
WEDNESDAY, 25 MARCH 2015
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