Regional Development Australia (RDA) – Illawarra welcomed the announcement today by the Prime Minister that the new submarine fleet will be based on the East Coast of Australia.

Eddy De Gabriele, Chair of RDA Illawarra said “We believe that Port Kembla is the ideal location given our proximity to Fleet Base East/Garden Island operations in Sydney and Albatross and other naval operations in Nowra.

RDA Illawarra has led bipartisan advocacy on naval Defence operations locating in Port Kembla for nearly a decade.  We have undertaken significant studies and economic modelling of the opportunities, in collaboration with peak bodies, as well as Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, and local MPs the Hon Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones.”

Debra Murphy, CEO of RDA Illawarra said “a small maritime Defence presence in Port Kembla would deliver a huge economic benefit to the region. 

We estimate that if 4 submarines were located in Port Kembla, this would generate $3.2 billion to our economy (gross regional product) and 7,000 jobs.

Furthermore, this would stimulate additional investments in new technologies, advanced manufacturing, new generational skill investments and housing developments.”

RDA Illawarra is keen to work with with the Department of Defence/Navy and all three levels of government to develop a coordinated Master Plan that carefully considers the wider existing working port and landside industries such as BlueScope Port Kembla operations and new energy investment opportunities.