There are worries about South Australian job losses, with the federal government refusing to commit to building new submarines at Port Adelaide.
Defence minister David Johnston yesterday did not rule out sourcing new submarines from Japan.
“The Japanese is the nearest design that comes towards what our requirements are,” the Adelaide Advertiser reports him as saying.
“It is extremely impressive that they can get a boat of that size, 4200 tonnes with diesel electric power.
Labor’s Mark Butler, the federal Port Adelaide MP, has accused the federal government of putting jobs at risk by not honouring an earlier commitment to buy 12 new submarines to be built in his electorate by ASC.
“This commitment was vital for protecting thousands of jobs in the Port Adelaide electorate and for retaining shipbuilding skills in our state,” said Butler in a statement.
“This broken promise from Tony Abbott will have significant consequences for workers in the Port Adelaide electorate, effectively ending home-grown naval shipbuilding, and hitting the South Australian economy hard.”
The federal government is under pressure to cut spending, with a severe deficit forecast for the May budget, and the government previously setting a goal to eventually restore defence spending to 2 per cent of GDP.
Defence cuts would affect more workers in South Australia than the end of car manufacturing in the state, according to figures.
News Corp reports that Defence SA’s 2011 figures show 12,000 work for the sector directly, and another 15,000 indirectly.
SA Premier Jay Weatherill has said that around 13,000 jobs are at risk in the automotive industry, with about 10,000 in SA working to supply components to the three car manufacturers.