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Mega naval shipbuilding plan is Australia's largest peacetime investment: PM

Xinhua, May 16, 2017 Adjust font size:

The Australian government's new 89 billion AU dollar (66.1 billion U.S. dollar) Naval Shipbuilding Plan is the nation's largest ever peacetime investment, and will deliver world-leading naval submarines and war boats and thousands of jobs for decades, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Tuesday.

Speaking from the Osborne Naval Shipyard near Adelaide, the prime minister said the program would deliver crucial infrastructure upgrades in addition to the construction on 12 next-generation naval submarines, nine frigates and 12 offshore patrol vessels,and 19 patrol boats for neighboring Pacific nations.

"This is the largest investment in our defence capability and in our navy ever in peacetime, and it is at the very forefront of technology," Turnbull told the press on Tuesday.

The prime minister said the announcement typified the government's commitment to investing in "good debt," or debt which stimulates economic activity and creates jobs, by keeping government money in Australia.

"We believe that, historically, we have been too much of a customer and not enough of a supplier for our own defence needs," Turnbull said.

"This is nation building and unashamedly nationalistic but it not only secures the physical assets our defence force needs but it secures the economic future."

Also speaking at the launch, Defence Minister Marise Payne said the government was "getting on" with delivering the promises outlined in last year's Defence White Paper.

"What you see now is the delivery of the Defence White Paper," she said. "These are platforms that we deliver to the Australian navy and the defence force the capability that we need to ensure we are protecting Australia and our interests."

Meanwhile the nation's Defence Industry Minister, Christopher Pyne described the plan as a "hundred year project" which would continue to deliver for all Australians for "decades" to come.

"This is going to be employing thousands of Australians, at least 5,000 by the mid-2020s, but thousands more for decades into the future," Pyne said.

The minister said in addition to the new shipbuilding infrastructure and the construction of the naval vessels, the government would also be investing 25 million AU dollars (18.6 million U.S. dollars) into a new naval shipbuilding college in Adelaide. Enditem