Topics: Submarine shipyard Osborne; SA school term;  



Stacey Lee:  Senator Simon Birmingham, good morning to you.


Simon Birmingham: Good morning, Stacey. Good morning, listeners.


Stacey Lee: Is does this mean the federal government is committed to those subs jobs here in South Australia?


Simon Birmingham: Oh, absolutely. Stacey, when we announced the AUKUS agreement with the United States and the United Kingdom last year, we were very clear that the nuclear-powered submarines would be built in Adelaide. We’re now six months through the 12 to 18 month process of determining which model of boat will be built and there’s extensive analysis there. US and UK officials have been to Adelaide as they have investigated the sites here and we’re now taking this step to secure some extra 45 hectares of land down at Osborne. This is a tripling of the submarine construction yard from a current 20 hectare site to a 65 hectare site to make sure that we have all of the land available for what will be one of the most technologically sophisticated shipbuilding yards in the world.


Stacey Lee: So, yes, a tripling of the land size. And I know you say we’re only six months into that 12 to 18 month review, but what are your indications, your early indications on jobs? Will there be as many jobs here under the nuclear submarine program as they were going to be under the French program?


Simon Birmingham: Absolutely, Stacey. And I would expect there to be more. The reason we need such extra land is that this is a much more complicated program to pursue the additional capabilities of nuclear-powered submarines. These are much bigger boats than the current Collins class or the Attack class would have been. So we’re getting larger boats, more technologically sophisticated boats, and that will create many additional jobs. And of course, this is on top of what’s already happening for-


Stacey Lee: So is that a commitment? Is that a commitment that there will be more jobs?


Simon Birmingham: Indeed it’s a commitment because it is just a fact that you wouldn’t be able to build them without having more jobs, without creating the additional workforce down there. And what it is doing is building on what is already happening there. Most people have never, of course, had the opportunity to go into the secure defence precinct down there. But currently we have the Osborne South site where BAE Systems Australia are undertaking the cutting of steel and the prototyping of the future frigates with a significantly growing workforce there. In the middle of the site we have ASC undertaking the sustainment of the Collins class and they will be undertaking the Life of Type Extensions there. And then now what we’re doing is expanding the footprint of the Osborne North site so that it can become the site for the future nuclear-powered submarines.


Stacey Lee: Now, Senator, before we let you go, you were listening there to the premier, that breaking news about what’s going to happen in the last week of term. What’s your reaction to that? You’ve got schoolkids here in SA.


Simon Birmingham: I do, Stacy. Look, as a dad, it’s very welcome. I want my kids to have the opportunity of a classroom education. I want workers across South Australia to to be able to continue to go to work and not have to rearrange their work, whether it be in our hospitals, on our shipyards or in many small businesses, worried that their kids can’t go to school. Look throughout COVID-19, one of the huge successes has been keeping schools open. That was a credit to Steven Marshall and to Peter Malinauskas is continuing that. It’s a credit to him too.


Nikolai Beilharz: Senator Simon Birmingham, thanks for your time this morning.


Simon Birmingham: Thanks very much, guys.