Discussion paper

A sustainable Australian naval industry

23 Oct 2013

Executive Summary: Australia, as an island continent, is a maritime nation. Our way of life is enabled by the sea.

Our security and prosperity vests in a Navy that can fight and win at sea. For the Navy to be effective, the Australian naval industry must be able to continuously deliver and sustain capable warships and submarines.

This paper puts forward an industry perspective on how to develop a sustainable and productive Australian naval industry. Australia has the ability to develop a naval industry that approaches or exceeds international benchmarks for efficiency and performance. This advanced industrial capability would be available without additional cost should the Government implement policies that enable higher industry performance.

Five key recommendations are proposed:

1.    implement rolling ship and submarine building programs to sustain industry throughput

2.    build a capable in-country naval ‘value chain’ built on domestic and international sources of supply

3.    implement best commercial practice across the value chain for greater productivity

4.    increase in-country capability in submarine and ship integration to include warship design

5.    establish, maintain and execute a strategic science and technology program.

Significant benefits follow. Simply put, the most important benefit of a sustainable and productive Australian naval industry is an improvement in Navy capability. The Government also receives more cost effective products and services. A wider value is realised through greater military and industrial self-reliance, jobs growth, and development of human capital, innovation and economic growth.

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