Defence Procurement

11 June 2020

Senator GRIFF: I move the motion as amended:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

   (i) a Government objective for the Future Submarine program is to maximise Australian industry involvement through all phases of the Future Submarine Program,

   (ii) Naval Group, a French Company, is Australia's strategic partner for design, development, build and delivery of the future submarine,

   (iii) to date Naval Group, endorsed by Defence, has contracted four critical systems (diesels, main motors, main DC switchboards and the weapon discharge system) to foreign suppliers without a comparable competitive process,

   (iv) Australia has an established supplier of batteries for submarines: PMB Defence Pty Ltd has supplied batteries to the Collins submarines for three decades,

   (v) in total contrast to the approach with other critical equipment, Naval Group, with Defence's support, has forced the Australian battery supplier, PMB Defence Pty Ltd, into a competition with a foreign supplier, and

   (vi) the Government made strong Australian Industry Participation promises at the commencement of the Future Submarine program and has manifestly failed to live up to its promises; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to:

   (i) immediately explain why PMB Defence Pty Ltd was not engaged solely for the supply of the Future Submarine's battery,

   (ii) immediately justify why capability or value-for-money requirements purportedly necessitated forcing PMB Defence Pty Ltd into a competition with a foreign supplier, but that four critical Future Submarine systems went to foreign suppliers without a comparable competitive process,

   (iii) in all cases where there is an established Australian designer and producer of Future Submarine components or services, the Government should direct Defence to engage with that Australian company first as it assesses all market options, and

   (iv) provide assurances that the Future Submarine project will meet at least the same level of Australian industry content as was achieved in the building of the Collins-class submarines.

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