New submarine base to be built on Australia’s East Coast

Photo: Royal Australian Navy

A new submarine base will be built on the east coast of Australia to support the nation’s future nuclear-powered submarines, the Office of Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed in a statement on Monday, March 7.

The new Future Navy Base will add capacity and capability to Fleet Base West in Western Australia, home of the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) Collins-class submarines, which will also receive significant funding to support Australia’s nuclear-powered submarines and enable regular visits from the United States and United Kingdom’s own nuclear-powered submarines.

The Department of Defence estimates that more than AU$10 billion (US$7.28 billion) will be needed for facility and infrastructure requirements to transition from the Collins boats to the future nuclear-powered submarines, including the new east coast submarine base.

Mr Morrison said the decision to establish an east coast submarine base has been underway for many years and would enhance Australia’s strategic deterrent capability in the Pacific Ocean.

Following significant work by the Department of Defence, which reviewed 19 potential sites, three preferred locations on the east coast have been identified, being Brisbane, Newcastle, and Port Kembla.

The locations were selected on submarine basing criteria, which included access to exercise operating areas, proximity to industrial infrastructure, and significant population centres to support personnel and recruitment.

The Department of Defence will engage with state and local governments to determine the optimal site, which will be informed by the ongoing work of the Nuclear Powered Submarine Taskforce. This initial work is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2023.

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