16 November 2023

Federal & South Australian governments finalise land swap for Osborne nuclear submarine construction yard

| Andrew McLaughlin
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two man at an official signing near a submarine

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles and SA Premier Peter Malinauskas sign the land swap deal for the future nuclear submarine construction yard at Osborne. Photo: ADF.

The Federal and South Australian governments have agreed on the site at Osborne for the construction yard for Australia’s future nuclear-powered submarines.

The announcement was made and the agreement signed at Osborne near Port Adelaide on 10 November, in company with the Director General of the Australian Submarine Agency Vice Admiral Jonathan Mead.

The site was agreed upon as part of an exchange, with the South Australian Government to acquire 13 hectares of Defence-owned land at Keswick and 38 hectares at Smithfield for future urban projects, and part of the Cultana Training Area north of Whyalla which will be used for hydrogen and renewable energy projects.

Keswick Barracks is located close to the southeast corner of the Adelaide CBD, while the Smithfield cadet facility is near Elizabeth in Adelaide’s northern suburbs. Both have strong connections to public transport, retail and other community facilities.

The premier said at least 15 per cent of dwellings in any future development at Keswick will be reserved for affordable housing, while the Smithfield development will target a minimum of 40 per cent affordable housing.

Osborne is already the location of the shipyards where the Collins class submarines and Hobart class destroyers were built, and where the first Hunter class frigates will soon take shape. The plan is to build a new shipyard for the construction of nuclear-powered SSN-AUKUS submarines from the mid-2030s which will eventually employ 4,000 workers, as well as a Skills and Training Academy.

Australian Naval Infrastructure is due to start taking ownership of key land parcels for the submarine construction yard at Osborne from December 2023.

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“This historic agreement is a significant milestone in transforming Osborne into one of the most advanced technical hubs in the world,” Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Richard Marles said in a joint statement.

“Osborne is key to Australia’s nuclear-powered submarine enterprise and I congratulate and thank South Australia for being such a great partner as we continue to work together to deliver the necessary infrastructure and skills.

“The future Skills and Training Academy at Osborne will provide Australian workers with the advanced skills and training required to deliver a world-leading future submarine capability.”

Mr Marles said that, “Defence land at Keswick, near the city centre and Smithfield in the northern suburbs of Adelaide, along with Cultana, will be provided to the South Australian Government. In time, it will allow for housing developments at Keswick and Smithfield, and will allow for the development of the state’s hydrogen plants and hydrogen plant at Port Bonython”.

South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas described the deal as a “landmark agreement” between the two levels of government.

“This is about much more than an exchange of land,” he said.

“This agreement helps unlock thousands of high quality, high paying jobs – in industries from shipbuilding to hydrogen, from Osborne to the Upper Spencer Gulf, and right across our economy.

“It will also help us deliver thousands of new, well-located homes for thousands of South Australians.

“Nuclear-powered submarines are the most complex machines on the planet and delivering them will require us to deliver the workforce.

“For that reason – we’ll be working closely with the Commonwealth to design the Skills and Training Academy.”

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