Australia to invest $65bn on naval shipbuilding projects over 20 years
Australia has announced plans to invest A$89bn ($65.5bn) on frigates and submarines over the next 20 years, in a bid to strengthen the domestic naval shipbuilding industry and national security.
As part of the plans, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced an investment of A$40bn ($29.44bn) into surface naval shipbuilding.
The surface warships projects will see the construction of SEA5000 Future Frigate and the SEA1180 offshore patrol vessels.
In addition, approximately A$50bn ($36.80bn) will be provided for the stealth submarine programme.
Abbott was quoted by Straits Times as saying: "The fundamental thing that we have done today is ensure that we don't just have a ship build in Australia, we have a fleet build in Australia."
The construction of the offshore patrol vessels is expected to start in 2018, while work on the future frigates will begin in 2020.
The government expects that these shipbuilding projects will offer employment for a total of around 2,500 workers in the country.
Abbott also said that there is separate process taking place in respect of submarines and the government will follow the recommendations of the RAND report.
Commissioned in September 2014, the report analysed the shipbuilding capability and ship repair industrial bases in Australia to meet the demands of current and future naval surface ship programmes.
The bidding companies for the new submarine contract include Germany's ThyssenKrupp (TKMS), France's DCNS, and a consortium of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries.