Motions: Collins Class Submarines

25 February 2020

Senator Patrick: I seek leave to amend general business notice of motion No. 487 standing in my name for today.

Leave granted.

Senator Patrick: I amend the motion in the terms circulated in the chamber and move the motion as amended:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

   (i) Australia's Collins class submarines provide vital capability for the Australian Defence Force,

   (ii) in June 2011 the Navy could not put even one of our six Collins Class submarines to sea,

   (iii) it took more than half a decade and a significant amount of taxpayer's money to rectify submarine sustainment and achieve world benchmarks,

   (iv) the sustainment model now has short term maintenance activities in Western Australia and deep maintenance in South Australia, specifically through Collins Class Submarine Full Cycle Dockings,

   (v) Australian Submarine Corporation in South Australia (SA) still sends experts to Western Australia (WA) when WA is unable to resolve complex maintenance issues, and

   (vi) there is a proposal before Government to move Full Cycle Dockings from SA to WA which would result in:

(A) only a small percentage of the SA workforce relocating to WA, causing a huge loss of corporate knowledge from Australia's submarine sustainment organisation,

(B) significant challenges and risk being injected into the sustainment model,

(C) submarine availability suffering, thereby damaging national security,

(D) at best, only similar outcomes would be achieved, thus the cost of the move cannot represent value for money,

(E) a sustainment model inconsistent with Defence's longer term plans of having submarines based on the East and West coasts, and

(F) Defence being exposed to higher levels of risk by having all its Collins Class submarines maintenance capabilities in one location; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to:

   (i) recognise the success of the current sustainment model, and

   (ii) continue the current sustainment model, retaining all Collins Class Submarine Full Cycle Docking activities in SA.

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