Friday, March 13th, 2015

Key figures in the national defence debate will gather in Adelaide later this month to address ongoing uncertainty surrounding the Future Submarines project and the Australian shipbuilding industry as a whole.

Amid ongoing uncertainty around where the next fleet of Australian submarines will be built, and by whom, a three-day Sub Summit boasting a high profile list of speakers and delegates will be held at the Adelaide Convention Centre (March 24-26) to highlight the need for a balanced debate and for the work to be kept local.

The purpose of the event is to better inform the public, industry and politicians, on all sides, of the facts and the decision making process that will lead to our next generation of submarines. Local industry representatives are being encouraged to attend.

In a major coup for the summit, Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s office has confirmed that he will give the opening address, while Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will also address the crowd.

Other speakers include: independent South Australian senator Nick Xenophon, Minister for Defence Industries Martin Hamilton-Smith, editor-in-chief of the Australian Defence Magazine Katherine Ziesing, Commodore Peter Scott CSC (Director General Submarine Capability, Navy Strategic Command), and the DSTO’s Dr David Kershaw.

On the evening of Tuesday March 24 a Defence SA sponsored cocktail party and networking event will be held at the Convention Centre. The final day of the summit will see a number of plenary sessions be held. Full details are available on the website (

Event organiser Mark Ryan, the Hargraves Institute advocate for SA and a retired Wing Commander with a 25-year involvement with the submarine force, said the Sub Summit could not come at a better time.

“We are aware that the Prime Minister is due to make announcements over the next few weeks on the future submarine issue. The White Paper is also due for release shortly so we believe that the timing of this summit is uniquely placed to inform the public and to keep Australia’s options on an even keel,” he said.

National president of the Royal United Services Institute, Air Vice-Marshal Brent Espeland (Rtd), said a core objective of the Sub Summit is to inform the public on all relevant issues in a balanced manner, which he said has been missing in much of the media coverage.

“The public have a right to understand the issues at play here. The RUSI is one body whose charter is to keep the public informed of defence matters and I can think of no other more pressing issue than the future of Australia’s submarine force,” he said.

Dr John Bruni of Sage International, a key supporter of the Sub Summit and one of Australia’s leading commentators on defence and strategic issues, said that the public is not seeing a balanced argument on how the federal government should proceed with the Future Submarines project.

What is the impact on the Australian shipbuilding and manufacturing sector if $20 billion is spent overseas on an off-the-shelf system, as opposed to building locally?

Mr Ryan said the Sub Summit will be a national discussion on these important issues, allowing people to understand the significance and importance of the process.

“This summit has no hidden agenda or bias. The RUSI, Hargraves Institute and SAGE International is a non-aligned partnership that aims only to inform the public on defence and strategic issues,” Mr Ryan said.

“Together, we believe that we will inform the public of the key issues of the debate by the various stakeholders leading to the acceptance of the government’s decision.”

Tickets to all sessions remain available. Got to to find out more and to register your details. 

For more information:

Mark Ryan 0411 060 632 / [email protected]

Brent Espeland 0411 863 226 / [email protected]

Dr John Bruni 0448 581 890 / [email protected]

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