Preliminary enabling works on a new Submarine Construction Yard at Osborne, South Australia, have begun – which will eventually become the birthplace of Australia’s home-built nuclear submarines.
FILE IMAGE (July 2023): USS North Carolina during Exercise Talisman Sabre 23 in the Indian Ocean. Image by US Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jordan Brow.
Australian Naval Infrastructure Pty Ltd (ANI) this week signed a contract with Shamrock Civil to commence construction of a staging and laydown area to support the future construction workforce for the Submarine Construction Yard.
Other preliminary work set to commence in 2024 will include the construction of a pedestrian bridge and road, which will support the movement of thousands of workers during the construction of the yard and build of Australia’s SSN-AUKUS submarines.
At the peak, up to 4000 workers will be employed to design and build the infrastructure for the Submarine Construction Yard.
Minister for Defence Richard Marles said the start of enabling works at Osborne was another important milestone for Australia as it progressed at pace towards commencing construction of the first SSN-AUKUS by the end of this decade.
“There is an enormous amount of work that has occurred over the past 12 months towards realising the AUKUS pathway and that progress will continue in 2024.”
Mr Marles said this announcement caped off a busy nine months for the AUKUS pathway:
“In March, we announced the pathway through which Australia would acquire a conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarine capability.
“The Australian Submarine Agency was launched, which will be responsible for the management and oversight of the nuclear-powered submarine program.
“Australian submariners and industry workers have commenced training and placements in both the United States and United Kingdom.
“United States nuclear-powered submarines have visited HMAS Stirling in Western Australia, building our capacity in the lead up to Submarine Rotational Force-West (SRF-West) from 2027.
“The Australian and South Australian governments reached agreement on a land exchange for the new Submarine Construction Yard at Osborne and the future site of the Skills and Training Academy.
“The South Australian Defence Industry Workforce and Skills Report and Action Plan was handed down, delivering a detailed strategy to grow and sustain the State’s defence-industry workforce for the future.
“More than 4000 Commonwealth-supported places in STEM courses were allocated across 16 Australian universities, to help grow the AUKUS workforce.
“Five pieces of legislation in support of the AUKUS pathway have been introduced to Parliament, including; the Defence Trade Controls Amendment Bill 2023, the Australian Nuclear Power Safety Bill 2023 and the Safeguarding Australia’s Military Secrets Bill.
“The United States Congress passed the 2024 National Defense Authorisation Act, which, among other significant enabling provisions, authorises the transfer of Virginia-class submarines to Australia, for the first time in US history.”
Mr Marles said Australia’s acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines was the most significant industrial undertaking in our nation’s history and the important work that has happened over the past year will continue to progress at pace into the future.