Industry Minister Christopher Pyne says news that Japan is willing to build the navy’s next fleet of submarines in Australia is music to his ears.
Mr Pyne confirmed on Friday that all three international bidders for the multi-billion-dollar contract to produce Australia’s next fleet of submarines are prepared to build in Australia.
Japan is vying for the contract along with France and Germany.
Japanese ambassador Sumio Kusaka told The Australian winning the deal will strengthen the strategic relationship between the two allies.
In a turnaround, Mr Kusaka suggested Japan could work with Australia’s government-owned submarine builder ASC, in whatever arrangement best suited the Federal Government.
“We will go along with whatever decision the Australian government makes,” Mr Kusaja told The Australian.
“It is very important to Japan to be able to design world-class submarines. Not many nations can do that.”
My Pyne was grinning from ear to ear during an interview with the Nine Network on Friday morning. Without submarine building jobs for South Australia, his safe seat would be in serious trouble.
“All three of them are now saying they’d prefer a domestic build,” he told the Nine Network.
“As a South Australian that is music to my ears, but we will go through the proper processes and we’ll make an announcement at the appropriate time.
“Sounds to me like all three bidders are picking up that we’d like to spend $50 billion of defence industry money in Australia where it creates jobs, new technologies, innovations, all sorts of spin-off industries.
“It would be great for Australia.”
According to The Australian, the submarine project could cost a minimum $20 billion to build about eight to 12 boats. They reported it would cost about $30 billion on top of that figure to sustain the boats in Australia during their life-span.
Meanwhile, Independent Senator Nick Xenophon accused the government of failing to release a report showing the economic benefits of a local build, AAP reported.
He said he has written to Defence Minister Marise Payne requesting the modelling be made public.