Submarine acquisition should be about value for money and jobs
A brief message today as I am in Senate Estimates – a week of long days and thousands of questions – that makes it hard to concentrate on much else.
One of the subjects that came up earlier in the week was the matter of Australia’s new submarine fleet. It also happens to be an issue that a number of readers have raised with me privately in recent weeks.
As a South Australian, my position has always been pretty straightforward. I want more jobs for South Australia and as much of the contract to go the way of my state as is consistent with value for taxpayers’ money and capacity. The Prime Minister has repeatedly said that would be the case.
Last week, the government announced that three nations would be invited to apply for the submarine contract in a ‘competitive evaluation process’. This process would also allow local companies to partner with the internationals.
For South Australians, it means the bulk of the 500 jobs that will be created will be in SA and a substantial amount of the life-of-contract value will also be spent in the state. I am pleased with the outcome.
For those outside SA, it means you will be getting the best possible value for your money. This is an important consideration for a country that is running annual deficits and has already clocked up hundreds of billions in debt over the past eight years.
Debt and deficit may have faded from the public eye in recent times but just because they are out of sight doesn’t mean the problems will go away. The risk to the global economy from the current level of debt is as sharp as at any time in history.
The day of reckoning will come and it is incumbent upon any responsible government to ensure we are prepared for it as best we can. Responsible defence procurement is an important step in the process.