The McGowan Labor Government has launched a new campaign calling on Canberra to make a decision in the national interest and deliver the Full Cycle Docking (FCD) submarine maintenance program to Western Australia.
With time running out to complete the expected six-year relocation from South Australia before the 2026 deadline, a decision is now a matter of urgency.
The Federal Government is a year past its self-imposed deadline for a decision and has not provided any updates on the delay or timelines for an outcome.
The national campaign – running on TV, print, radio, digital and social media – presses the Federal Government to end the indecision and choose WA as the new location for FCD.
It makes the case that WA has the skilled workforce, experienced businesses and world-class infrastructure to do the work.
An independent PwC study released last year found moving FCD to WA was in the national interest.
A comprehensive business case prepared for the Federal Government has also outlined WA’s investment in infrastructure and workforce development to ensure a smooth transition.
Moving FCD west would inject about $8.4 billion to the State’s economy and create over 3,000 local jobs.
It would reduce pressure on an already stretched workforce in South Australia and de-risk the Attack class submarine and Hunter class frigate programs.
It would also see all maintenance of the Collins class fleet take place next to HMAS Stirling, where the submarines are based. This co-location is in line with international best practice.
The move will also provide significant benefits to Navy personnel. Submariners will spend less time away from home and more time with their families.
The McGowan Government has committed up to $350 million to ensure Defence can expand its presence in WA, including spending $87.6 million as part of the WA Recovery Plan to develop infrastructure at the Australian Marine Complex.
Another $18 million worth of training initiatives was announced in September to develop the State’s defence industry workforce.
The State Government today released the Building Western Australia’s Defence Industry infrastructure strategy and the Strategic Infrastructure and Land Use Plan, which outline options to develop the AMC to help deliver FCD and other high-value Defence projects.
As stated by Defence Issues Minister Paul Papalia:
“It’s time Canberra made a decision and put our national interest first by bringing all Collins class submarine maintenance to WA.
“We are now a year past the Federal Government’s own deadline. We lack even a basic timeline to understand when a decision will be made.
“It is high time the Federal Government gave our industry and the Defence Force some certainty and a real timeframe to work towards.
“Western Australia has outlined a compelling case to secure Full Cycle Docking.
“The submarine fleet is based here. We have the workforce and the industry expertise. We are continuing to invest in the Australian Marine Complex. All we need now is a decision.”