The important outcomes of the RUSI of Australia, Hargraves Institute & SAGE International’s ‘Sub Summit’ in Adelaide, March 25 & 26 2015 can be summarised in the following.
The general consensus of those present was that:
- The new Australian submarine must be built in Australia and that any premium necessary for building the submarines in Australia would be compensated by the guarantee of security of supply and wider economic benefits.
- Industry also favoured the Swedish option being brought back to the table for inclusion in the Competitive Evaluation Process (CEP), and was critical of the Abbott government’s decision to exclude the Swedes from the CEP.
- Doubt was expressed that the government’s declared process of ‘competitive evaluation’ was likely to deliver a workable outcome and needed urgent revisiting with the preferred outcome being a funded project definition study of the Japanese, French, German and Swedish options, followed by a restricted tender to two compliant responders.
- Importantly, for the first time, transparency and clarity of a likely Japanese response option was described. There was confidence that ‘Option J’ submarines could be built in Australia and that the technologies and capabilities of a possible ‘Option J’ were attractive and relevant to Royal Australian Navy requirements.
- Missing from this important debate were the French, who sent a junior observer, but no one able to plainly speak to the audience about how a French boat could be built in Australia.
- From a political perspective, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten argued strongly in favour of an environment of bipartisanship in order to see the Future Submarine Project through to completion though the Abbott government was sceptical that this was needed.
Industry has evaluated the Sub Summit as an extremely successful event in bringing Australian Industry, Governments and the four major international contenders to one location at a critical time in the debate for a future Australian submarine. High praise has been bestowed on the organisers.
Go to www.subsummit.com.au