Recall from defense expert Brian Toohey two years ago:
…everything is wrong about the Turnbull government’s decision to build 12 extremely large submarines in Adelaide.
…The government’s refusal to go with an off-the-shelf design will cost more billions, because the first of new submarines won’t be operational until after 2030 and the last until almost 2060.
This means the decrepit Collins class submarines will have to be kept going for more than 20 years beyond their planned 2025 retirement date – necessitating new capital spending and very high maintenance and operating costs that will soon pass $1 billion a year.
Bizarrely, the Turnbull government has decided that the Adelaide shipyard, which built the six Collins submarines, will now build 12 much bigger submarines and nine frigates that will be far larger than the existing Anzac class, which has served the nation well.
The new frigates will be even bigger than the three air warfare destroyers that the shipyard is building now. These are late and over budget, yet the government trusts this shipyard to build submarines costing $50 billion and frigates about $35 billion.
Where were Scott Morrison and Mathias Cormann when this decision was taken? The government’s estimates of the added costs of local construction shows it will take more than $20 billion more simply to try to win a couple of Coalition seats in Adelaide.
$20bn extra for Chris Pyne’s seat? Phewy. Try $175bn, at the AFR today:
The Turnbull government’s hopes of getting Senate backing for a fresh wave of company tax cuts continue to sink, with a key crossbencher warning they are becoming unaffordable because of the ballooning cost to build and operate 12 new submarines.
Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick – one of the key swing votes the government is wooing – told The Australian Financial Review it was “impossible” for him to agree to the plan to slash the corporate tax rate for businesses with a turnover of more than $50 million a year while the final price tag for the submarines remained unknown.
Seizing on official figures obtained through the Senate committee process as well as independent analysis, Senator Patrick, a former submariner, said the cost of building and sustaining the 12 French-designed submarines may ultimately reach $200 billion over their life.