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In response to ASC Collins Class Submarine documents, released under FOI, showing the Government is considering moving sustainment from South Australia to Western Australia. The Defence Teaming Centre questions the lack of transparency and consultation with industry.

“Why the secrecy? Let’s have an open discussion. The First Principles Review is about changing the culture of Defence procurement and decision-making; recognising industry as a Fundamental Input to Capability. Revelations like this only seek to perpetuate the trust deficit between Defence and industry and pit states against each other,” said Defence Teaming Centre CEO, Margot Forster.

Should the decision to move hundreds of SA jobs to WA be taken, it could significantly impact industry in South Australia, industry that needs to be viable and sustainable, in order to support the delivery of future programs within the state.

Discovering the Department is investigating the feasibility of relocating a significant portion of Collins sustainment work, through a (FOI) request, is the kind of act that perpetuates distrust between Defence and industry. In short, the Government cannot expect industry to take risks and invest in defence without honesty and reciprocal transparency.

If the Government is truly committed to recognising industry as a Fundamental Input to Capability, then decisions of this magnitude need to be discussed openly with industry.

On behalf of our members, both South Australian and Western Australian, I call for an open discussion to debate the merits of dispersing build and sustainment work. This must be weighed against the need to create a sustainable industrial capability, one that can support a fleet based on the west and east coast of our country into the future.

Should the Collins submarine maintenance jobs relocate to Western Australia, the Government must work with South Australian Industry to ensure minimal disruption to the program (for operational reasons) and minimal impact to industry. Trust and collaboration are critical to success going forward.

Furthermore, if more of Collins sustainment moves to the West, it is imperative that future naval ship building programs are on schedule, and opportunities for local industry are maximised.

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