Senate debates

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Questions without Notice

Defence Procurement

2:32 pm

Photo of Linda ReynoldsLinda Reynolds (WA, Liberal Party, Minister for Defence) Share this | Hansard source

I very much thank Senator Hughes for that question. I can confirm for all in this chamber that the Morrison government is absolutely committed to the security, stability and prosperity of Australia. That's why this government is investing $90 billion in our national shipbuilding endeavour. We are an island nation. We rely on maritime trade for our prosperity, and that trade requires a secure maritime environment. With an estimated 300 submarines expected to be operating in the Indo-Pacific region by 2035, submarines are an enduringly important strategic capability for Australia.

Today that capability is very ably provided by a fleet of six Collins class submarines that is providing extraordinary service to our nation. Three of the six submarines are consistently available now for tasking, with one in shorter-term maintenance and two in long-term maintenance and upgrades. The Collins class submarines incorporate the most advanced technology of any conventional submarine and continue to excel in their operations in a way that should make all Australians incredibly proud.

We are now pursuing the next generation of submarine, the Attack class, which is the centrepiece of our naval shipbuilding enterprise. Like Collins, the Attack class submarine will retain that competitive edge in our submarine capability in future. But, as we construct 12 new Attack class submarines, this government will be putting in place a very prudent transition plan to ensure that the effective operation of our submarine fleet in this increasingly contested environment remains in place. The delivery of our submarine capability is a key priority of government, and it is my most solemn of duties to make sure that this project is delivered and we receive the capability our nation requires.

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