Seven in ten Australians say submarines should be built in Australia, even if they will cost more, according to a report released today by the Australian Federation of Shipbuilding Unions (ASFU).

The report from the ASFU calls for the Australian government to build at least four, and up to six, conventional submarines in Australia. This will fill a capability gap between when the Collins-class submarines reach their end-of-life and the nuclear-powered vessels arrive in up to three decades, as part of the AUKUS arrangement.

The dumping of the French Naval Group deal has left the local shipbuilding industry in jeopardy and thousands of jobs at risk while we wait for the nuclear-powered vessels, say the ASFU.

The report from the ASFU calls for urgent political action to build up to six conventional submarines commencing by 2026. This would create up to 2,500 secure jobs.

Quotes attributable to ASFU National Convener Glenn Thompson:

“Building and maintaining our submarine fleet has always mattered to Australians; our industry employs nearly 30,000 workers across the country. We can no longer afford a government that neglects local manufacturing.

“We’re calling for political action now to save critical manufacturing shipbuilding jobs. We need a government committed to supporting Aussie made.

“Building up to six conventional submarines keeps our skilled shipbuilding workers on the job in communities like Osborne and Henderson, while growing our industry.

“A failure to do so would hand the economic benefits of building these submarines to another country and betray the shipbuilders in Australia who have fought to get the industry out the valley of death over recent years.

“Building them now will not only create secure jobs for up to 2,500 workers across Australia, ensuring we are positioned to build our future submarine fleet, but the spin off effect will also support jobs throughout the value chain, helping small and medium businesses to scale up production.”

Link to report

Note – The ASFU surveyed 1,514 adults of voting age.

Read more of the latest ETU

This article was publised on 25 February 2022.