20 May 2024

South Australia signs AUKUS workforce development pact with US's Maryland

| Andrew McLaughlin
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two politicians with signed agreement

SA Premier Peter Malinauskas and Maryland Governor Wes Moore at the signing of the agreement to develop a skilled AUKUS workforce. Photo: LinkedIn.

South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas has used a trip to the US to sign a collaborative pact with the state of Maryland to develop a skilled workforce for the trilateral AUKUS program.

The Premier arrived in the US on 15 May and, after visiting California, moved on to the east coast where he met the Governor of Maryland Wes Moore in the state capital, Annapolis.

Mr Malinauskas is holding meetings with leading figures in the Pentagon and the US submarine supply chain and will include visits to the Newport News shipyard in Virginia – the largest shipbuilding company in the US – and General Dynamics Electric Boat’s submarine shipyard in Groton, Connecticut. Virginia-class nuclear-powered submarines are built at both yards.

The Premier says a key focus of the visit will be the skills, training and workforce development in the US for its nuclear submarine program, and to ensure South Australia is best placed to develop the skilled workforce required for the AUKUS Pillar 1 plan to build nuclear-powered submarines at Osborne in Adelaide.

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As part of SA’s deal with Maryland, both states have agreed to:

  • Connect local companies with shared areas of expertise, including in defence, space, cyber and autonomous technologies
  • Exchange knowledge and expertise at a government and commercial level regarding defence workforce development and skills capability
  • Undertake trade and business missions between the two jurisdictions
  • Explore common research and development projects
  • Share access to public research infrastructure and information.

Representatives from Maryland’s Office of International Trade and Investment visited South Australia late last year to meet Defence SA officials and participate in the Defence SA Business Mission to explore collaborations in the nuclear submarine industry.

In addition, the University of Maryland has a long-standing partnership with the University of Adelaide on defence, intelligence and security.


South Australia will need to build a skilled workforce of more than 5000 to build the SSN AUKUS submarines from late next decade. Photo: UK MoD.

Mr Malinauskas said South Australia and Maryland shared a common interest in defence, space and cyber.

“We are both national leaders in these fields and it is in our mutual interests that we collaborate,” he said.

“My core focus of this trip to the United States is to strengthen our states’ preparations for the AUKUS submarine project, with a particular focus on developing the skilled workforce required.

“This partnership with Maryland will ensure our government and our local businesses have greater access to the expertise in this state.

“In addition, we can build upon the long-standing partnership between the University of Maryland and University of Adelaide, particularly on defence, intelligence and security matters.

“As the home of the Australian Space Agency, it is important for South Australia to forge close links with NASA, the world’s leading aeronautical and space agency.”

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Mr Moore said South Australia’s dedication to innovation and technology, particularly in the space and defence industries, made it a natural partner for Maryland.

“We believe this expanded partnership with South Australia will keep both regions working towards the greater good while boosting business in Maryland and abroad,” he said.

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