Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced the establishment of a new Maritime Technical College to prepare Australia for the nation’s $90 billion naval ship building program.
The Government will invest an initial $25 million in the college which will deliver world class training across the country in key areas such as steel fabrication, welding and naval engineering.
Defense Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said this was an important step in Australia’s future naval shipbuilding industry and would help thousands of Australians obtain jobs.
“The Government is ensuring long-term, secure employment for future naval shipbuilding and sustainment workers which will avoid the peaks and troughs the industry has previously experienced,” Pyne said.
“By the late 2020s the naval shipbuilding industry will expand to more than 5,200 employees in construction in South Australia and more than double this in sustainment and through the supply chain across the country.”
The Maritime Technical College will have headquarters at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in Adelaide and will commence operations in early 2018. A request for tender will be released in coming months. It will need to attract more than 1,500 students to meet future demand.
Pyne has also confirmed that the tender for the navy’s $35bn Future Frigates program will be brought forward and released to three tenderers by the end of next week.
Last week, Pyne launched a $730 million Next Generation Technologies Fund, a new investment in Australian defense capability and innovation.
“As our enemies devise new ways to attack, our defense force must have advanced ways to respond and overcome new threats.
“The Australian Government's $730 million Next Generation Technologies Fund is designed to provide the creative solutions defense needs and at the same time benefiting Australian industry. This is the first time ever any Australian Government has used defense dollars to drive innovation in this way.”
The 10-year research program will see the government invest A$16.8 million by June 2017. The technology areas included in the research fund are:
• cyber security
• space capabilities
• quantum technologies
• trusted autonomous systems
• enhanced human performance
• medical countermeasures
• multi-disciplinary material sciences
• integrated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance
• advanced sensors, hypersonics and directed energy capabilities.