9 May 2013

Oppn to move quickly on submarines

8:38 am on 9 May 2013

The federal opposition says it's committed to building 12 new submarines in South Australia and will proceed with the project as speedily as it can if it wins the election.

Opposition defence spokesman David Johnston said in Adelaide on Wednesday that submarines were a vital capability and a coalition government would deliver on a commitment first made in the 2009 White Paper and reaffirmed in the 2013 White Paper.

He said he accepted the 2013 Defence White Paper decision to reduce the options from four to two, eliminating the prospect of buying an existing European submarine design, or one slightly modified, on the grounds that they were too small and had too little range for Australian requirements.

AAP reports this leaves either an evolution of the current Collins design or an all-new design.

Senator Johnston said he accepted the decision of Defence Minister Stephen Smith that the move to reduce the options was based on the best available professional and technical advice.

"So we will be picking up, if we win the election, the cudgels for this projects as fast as we possibly can," he said.