Defence Industries Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith admitted in State Parliament yesterday that the South Australian Government has not offered any incentive to the three bidders in the Competitive Evaluation Process for Australia’s future submarines to build the vessels in Adelaide.
“The Weatherill Government has missed a golden opportunity to close the deal for building the subs in Adelaide,” said Shadow Minister for Defence Industries Dan van Holst Pellekaan.
“We face fierce competition for the $50 billion subs build from Western Australia, Victoria and New South Wales and it would have been prudent for the Weatherill Government to lock in an Adelaide bias for each of the bidders.”
Yet when questioned in Parliament Mr Hamilton-Smith said:
The State Government has offered no special package of financial incentives to any of the three bidders, which was the thrust of your question. (Hansard 2 December 2015)
“The Weatherill Government’s failure to recognise the importance of locking in the eventual winner to an Adelaide build may hurt us down the track,” said Mr van Holst Pellekaan.
“Instead of sitting back and waiting, the State Government should have made equal offers to all three bidders so that they all prefer to undertake as much work as possible in Adelaide.
“The State Liberal team has been working extremely closely with all three bidders and the Federal Government to do everything possible to secure the work in Adelaide.
“State Liberal Leader Steven Marshall has visited all three bidders in their home countries to give South Australia the best chance of winning their work.
“Former Premier Rann and Deputy Premier Foley made it clear that they would do anything it takes to create a shipbuilding industry and win the Air Warefare Destroyer contract.
“The Weatherill Government has taken its eye off the ball before the game has been won.”