Australia — Security cooperation with the United Kingdom, Defence investment in South Australia

STEPHEN SMITH: Thanks very much for turn­ing up. We’re here with the Unit­ed King­dom Sec­re­tary of State for Defence, Liam Fox. I’m also very pleased to be with the Pre­mier of South Aus­tralia, Mike Rann, and also joined by my col­league, the Min­is­ter for Defence Sci­ence and Per­son­nel, War­ren Snow­don.

First­ly, can I make some remarks about Dr Fox’s vis­it to Aus­tralia. Yes­ter­day we had a very suc­cess­ful AUKMIN min­is­te­r­i­al meet­ing, the third AUKMIN meet­ing and the first that we’ve had in Aus­tralia. We wel­come very much the suc­cess­ful out­come of that min­is­te­r­i­al meeting.

Dr Fox and I were keen to come to South Aus­tralia because South Aus­tralia is, of course, very impor­tant to our Defence indus­try, our Defence pro­cure­ment and our Defence capa­bil­i­ty. One of the things that we spoke about yes­ter­day was we all live now in the defence are­na in a time of tight fis­cal restraint, and we need to make sure that the things that we do in terms of Defence pro­cure­ment and Defence capa­bil­i­ty and Defence assets give tax­pay­ers and nations val­ue for mon­ey and val­ue for effort.

We believe there is poten­tial for Aus­tralia and the Unit­ed King­dom to work togeth­er on Defence capa­bil­i­ty pro­cure­ment issues.

Ear­li­er today, we vis­it­ed the Defence Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy Organ­i­sa­tion. There is already very strong col­lab­o­ra­tion in the Defence sci­ence area between Aus­tralia and the Unit­ed King­dom, and we believe that that can be enhanced as well.

Yes­ter­day, I also indi­cat­ed pub­licly that giv­en changed arrange­ments to some of the use of assets in the Unit­ed King­dom, that I was inter­est­ed in talk­ing to Dr Fox about Aus­tralia pos­si­bly acquir­ing, either pur­chase or leas­ing, an amphibi­ous land­ing ves­sel, a Bay class vessel.

Dr Fox and I have agreed that our offi­cials will now pur­sue that mat­ter to see whether it’s appro­pri­ate for Aus­tralia to add to its amphibi­ous land­ing ves­sel and load­ing dock fleet by either leas­ing or acquir­ing such a Bay class ves­sel from the Unit­ed Kingdom.

More gen­er­al­ly, in terms of South Aus­tralian Defence indus­try, we’re here at BAE, our largest defence indus­try con­trac­tor and we’re off to ASC to see the work they’re doing for naval assets. As a rule of thumb, Defence indus­try and Defence capa­bil­i­ty brings to the South Aus­tralian econ­o­my over $1 bil­lion a year.

In addi­tion to that and any oth­er future work that comes South Australia’s way, the arrival of 7RAR from Dar­win to Ade­laide will effec­tive­ly bring an addi­tion­al thou­sand per­son­nel with fam­i­lies, and prob­a­bly about 1800 to 1900 addi­tion­al Defence per­son­nel and fam­i­lies to Ade­laide and South Australia.

That will also be not just a good addi­tion­al Defence pres­ence in South Aus­tralia, but also a good boost to the South Aus­tralian economy. 

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Australia 

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