Coalition Senators note the findings in the Senate Economics References Committee's interim report on Australia’s sovereign naval shipbuilding capability, but do not agree with its recommendations.
The naval shipbuilding industry plays a pivotal role in securing Australia’s economic, political and strategic security.
Whilst the interim report was informed by a limited range of sources, the sheer complexity of the topic and inevitable national security implications of much of the potential source material, undermines the validity of the recommendations.
In particular, Coalition Senators make the following points as regards to the recommendations:
Coalition Senators do not believe it would be in either Australia’s national interest, or the commercial interests of participants, for such material to be publicly released.
Coalition Senators believe the long-standing practice governing the roles, responsibility and privileges of parliament and its Committees be adhered to by all government departments, and that a claims of public interest immunity should be correctly made at all times. However, Coalition Senators do not agree with the majority report that the Department and Executive have been deficient in this regard, particularly considering that the topics under discussion directly address matters of national security.
Coalition Senators note the importance of continual and active engagement with the Australian shipbuilding industry. A robust and efficient procurement process will ensure that we continue to have a vibrant naval shipbuilding industry, without the ‘valley-of-death’ left behind by previous Labor governments.
Coalition Senators support the Government's commitment to a strong and sustainable shipbuilding pipeline in Australia.