Up to 2,500 shipbuilding jobs in Adelaide will be safe for "all time", the Prime Minister says, ahead of the expected announcement to build a new fleet of Navy ships worth $39 billion, reports ABC.
However, he said naval shipbuilding jobs in Adelaide would drop from about 2000 to 1000 before bouncing back to 2500 once the future frigate project begins in 2020.
He has announced a $40 billion Navy ship build for South Australia
, with a fleet of new surface ships to be built at Osborne in Adelaide.
The Government will build a fleet of frigates at the ASC shipbuilding yard from 2020, and a further fleet of Offshore Combatant Vessels (OCV) from 2018, with the start dates for both projects brought forward.
Abbott said two major defence construction projects – offshore patrol vessels and new naval frigates – would be brought forward.
“We will have up to 2500 shipbuilding jobs safe for all time, focused on Adelaide, as a result of the decisions the Government is now taking.”
Contracts to build offshore combatant vessels (OCV) or "corvettes" would be brought forward to 2018. He said a competitive evaluation process for both projects would begin in October, on the proviso that any bidders pledge to conduct the "major build in South Australia".
The Future Frigates were flagged in the 2009 defence white paper (DWP) as a replacement to the ANZAC Class frigates.
Abbott said no-one should assume the submarine build wouldn’t happen in Adelaide.
Senior Liberals have warned as many as three Lower House seats could be lost in South Australia at the next election unless the government moves to shore up jobs in the wake of the loss of the automotive industry and a downturn in engineering and construction.