Australia’s defence industrial base expanded to deliver Navy’s enhanced lethality surface combatant fleet

The Albanese Government’s blueprint for the Royal Australian Navy’s enhanced lethality surface combatant fleet will deliver direct investment to grow a capable, resilient and competitive sovereign defence industrial base and support Australian jobs.

The Government has committed to increase Defence’s funding in the 2024–25 Federal Budget by $11.1 billion over the next decade to ensure the enhanced lethality surface combatant fleet is funded.

Australian shipbuilders and industry will be at the centre of delivering this future fleet. The Albanese Government is providing a clear pipeline of work and setting the conditions for job creation, technology investment, export opportunities, supply chain resilience, infrastructure enhancement and economic prosperity.

The independent analysis of Navy’s surface combatant fleet found in excess of $25 billion in unfunded promises in the former government’s acquisition and sustainment plans. This meant there was no certainty for Australian industry and workforce.

Over the next ten years, this investment will support more than 3,700 direct jobs and deliver the critical infrastructure required at the Osborne shipyard in South Australia and Henderson shipbuilding complex in Western Australia, delivering on the Government’s commitment to continuous naval shipbuilding.

In South Australia, the construction of the Hunter class frigates at Osborne will sustain at least 2,000 jobs and create at least 500 new jobs over the next decade.

Under this plan, the Albanese Government will enter into a build contract for the Hunter class frigates that sees construction start this year, with the final Hunter frigate to be delivered by 2043.

The Hunter class will be immediately followed by construction of the replacement for Navy’s Hobart class destroyers.

Combined with more than 4,000 estimated jobs created to build the new Submarine Construction Yard in South Australia and the more than 4,000 direct jobs to build conventionally-armed, nuclear-powered submarines in Australia, Osborne will be at the epicentre of a naval shipbuilding jobs revolution in this country.

In Western Australia, the Albanese Government is delivering on its commitment to establishing a continuous naval shipbuilding program, securing the future of naval shipbuilding jobs at the Henderson complex for decades to come.

Consolidation of the Henderson precinct is currently underway, as recommended by the Defence Strategic Review. Successful and timely consolidation will enable eight new general purpose frigates to be built at the Henderson precinct, and will also enable a pathway to build six new Large Optionally Crewed Surface Vessels in Western Australia.

This is in addition to the strategic shipbuilder pilot which will see Army’s Landing Craft Medium and Heavy (Littoral Manoeuvre Vessels), as well as the decision to acquire two new Evolved Cape-Class Patrol Boats, all of which will be built at Henderson by Austal.

These projects will create at least 1,200 new local jobs over the next decade.

The planned Transition Capability Assurance (TransCAP) upgrades to the Anzac class will not proceed. The accelerated acquisition of a new general purpose frigate allows for a more cost effective and lethal capability outcome.

Two Anzac class vessels will be decommissioned close to their original planned withdrawal from service. The six remaining Anzac class frigates will be upgraded with enhanced maritime strike capabilities. Defence will work with industry partners to redeploy the Anzac class sustainment workforce across the Henderson precinct.

An updated Naval Shipbuilding and Sustainment Plan will be released this year.

Quotes attributable to the Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon Richard Marles MP:

“The Albanese Government is delivering world class, sovereign capabilities through this investment in Navy’s future fleet and Australia’s vital shipbuilding and defence industry.

“After inheriting the oldest surface fleet Navy has operated in its history, this blueprint will see Navy equipped with a major surface combatant fleet over twice as large as planned when we came to government, with more surface combatants in the water sooner.

“The delivery of an enhanced lethality surface combatant fleet and sovereign shipbuilding industry will help secure Australia’s economic prosperity and trade, and help keep Australians safe.”

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Pat Conroy MP:

“The innovation and ingenuity of our dynamic defence industry is critical to the Albanese Government’s plan to deliver four times as many warships in the next 10 years compared to what had been planned by the previous government.

“This additional investment of $11.1 billion over the next decade, will provide confidence to industry and financial security for thousands of hard-working Australians.

“By investing in a strong and sovereign shipbuilding industry, the Albanese Government is investing in a future made in Australia by Australians.”

Read the full media statement here.