AUKUS Submarine Deal Sparks Debate on Cost and Production.
The AUKUS project, priced at $368 billion, is under scrutiny as former foreign affairs minister Alexander Downer predicts the future federal government might forgo local submarine construction due to high costs. Downer suggests that Australia could eventually purchase submarines from overseas, asserting that it would be 30% to 40% cheaper to have them built in the UK or US.
Countering this, SA premier Peter Malinauskas stresses the importance of Australia having the capability to build these submarines for national security, highlighting challenges in sourcing enough nuclear submarines from external sellers. Malinauskas critiques Downer’s stance, finding it inconsistent given Downer’s experience.
Downer further questioned the economic feasibility of building submarines in Adelaide and raised concerns about the unresolved issue of nuclear waste storage.
The current AUKUS terms have Australia receiving three Virginia-class submarines from the US while planning to construct up to eight nuclear-powered submarines domestically.