Legislative Council: Wednesday, March 22, 2023


Question Time

Submarine Steel

The Hon. F. PANGALLO (15:13): I seek leave to ask a question of the Leader of the Government, representing the Premier, a question about defence procurement.

Leave granted.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: The Premier has just returned from a trip to the UK, where he visited British shipyards making submarines and, I would imagine, other vessels. BAE is currently in the process of building frigates at Osborne. As we know, building these complex vessels requires marine-grade steel. I have been recently informed that almost all the steel that has been used in building these frigates has had to be imported from the UK or overseas because BHP cannot manufacture that type of steel. My question to the Premier is:

1. Is it correct that no Australian-made steel will be used in the building of the Future Frigates program?

2. Is it correct that no Australian steel was used in other frigates built at Osborne?

3. Why isn't there a requirement for Australian steel on these projects?

4. Will there be a requirement for Australian steel to be used in the manufacture of nuclear submarines or will that gigantic spend go to the Americans?

5. Can he tell us the percentage of Australian-made content that will go into the submarines and the frigates project?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:15): I thank the honourable member for his questions and his interest in the South Australian economy and South Australian industry. I am happy to pass those questions on to the Premier in another place and bring back a reply to the extent that all the questions can be answered.

I am not sure, in terms of the specifications of what is used on defence projects, how much information the federal defence department can provide because, of course, I suspect that the Premier and the state government would have to ask defence a number of those questions. But to the extent that they can be answered, I am happy to see what we can provide for the honourable member.