Release type: Joint Media Release


Commonwealth and South Australia sign Submarine Cooperation Agreement


The Hon Brendan O'Connor MP
Minister for Skills and Training
Senator The Hon Penny Wong
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Leader of the Government in the Senate
The Hon Pat Conroy MP
Minister for International Development and the Pacific
Minister for Defence Industry
The Hon Jason Clare MP
Minister for Education
The Hon Peter Malinauskas MP
Premier of South Australia

The Albanese Government and the Malinauskas Government have today signed a Cooperation Agreement, outlining our respective governments’ commitment to supporting the construction of Australia’s next-generation conventionally-armed, nuclear-powered submarines in Adelaide.

The Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, Richard Marles, and Premier of South Australia, Peter Malinauskas, signed the Cooperation Agreement in Adelaide today.

The Agreement establishes a genuine partnership between the Commonwealth and South Australia, recognising the momentous opportunity for South Australia as we acquire the single greatest upgrade for our Defence capability. 

This will be done through mutually-beneficial activities for the Commonwealth and South Australia which will be vital to the delivery of the historic program and the creation of a sovereign industry.

As part of the Agreement, the Albanese Government and South Australia will undertake to work together to realise the following:

  • An exchange of land as soon as possible to facilitate development of the new Submarine Construction Yard and a Skills and Training Academy campus in Osborne, South Australia.
  • The construction, establishment and operation of a Skills and Training Academy campus in South Australia, to be co-designed by the Commonwealth and the State, and developed in consultation with industry and unions.
  • An increase in Commonwealth Supported Places to South Australia Universities over the next four years, focused on STEM disciplines in professional engineering (mechanical, electrical, chemical), computer science, mathematics, chemistry, physics, psychology and management. The Commonwealth will allocate an additional 800 places to South Australia Universities over the next four years, with the first 200 places commencing in 2024.
  • Investment in research capability and infrastructure in priority disciplines in South Australia to generate a workforce close to the Submarine Construction Yard at Osborne.
  • Progress consideration of options for defence-related science and technology facilities in Adelaide.
  • A potential land exchange as well as appropriate easement and access arrangements in relation to Department of Defence owned and leased land at Cultana.

Developing this sovereign industry will deliver jobs and benefit South Australia’s economy for generations to come.

South Australian industry will receive a major uplift as it takes its place at the forefront of one of Australia’s greatest industrial undertakings.

With this Agreement, the Commonwealth and South Australia are taking the first step in delivering this undertaking.

Quotes attributable to the Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, Richard Marles:

“As the home of Australian nuclear-powered submarine construction, South Australia will have a vital role in delivering one of the greatest industrial endeavours Australia has undertaken.”

“The Albanese Government could not want for a better partner in South Australia to deliver our next-generation nuclear-powered submarines, which will deliver jobs and benefit the economy for generations to come.” 

Quotes attributable to the South Australian Premier, Peter Malinauskas: 

“AUKUS will transform South Australia’s economy for generations, but work begins right now.”

“As Premier, I am determined to seize this opportunity, which is why this agreement with the Commonwealth is so important.”

“It is all about delivering tangible outcomes to build the highly skilled workforce and the infrastructure we need to make the AUKUS program a reality.”

“I thank the Commonwealth Government for its collaborative approach.”

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Penny Wong:

“This is a landmark agreement delivering the Albanese Government’s commitment to South Australia and South Australian jobs.”

“It is a genuine partnership between the federal and state government, and we are working together to ensure we develop our workforce so we have the skills we need to deliver Australian nuclear-powered submarines for decades to come.”

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Defence Industry, Pat Conroy:

“Australia's nuclear-powered submarine program will generate many thousands of jobs across its life. Building the industrial workforce will be crucial to the success of this endeavour.

“We will work with the South Australian Government, industry and unions to attract, develop, qualify and retain a highly-skilled trades, technical, scientific and engineering workforce, and invest in new infrastructure and support the growth of industry capabilities to build and sustain nuclear-powered submarines in Australia.”

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Skills and Training, Brendan O’Connor:

“A highly skilled and productive workforce is critical to the successful delivery and sustainment of new nuclear submarine capabilities. Australia’s vocational education and training sector already contributes significantly to our naval shipbuilding and sustainment sector, providing diverse skills requirements ranging from complex engineering and design roles, project management and logistics roles, through to highly advanced technician and trade roles.”

“In the midst of a skills crisis, we are aware of the obstacles in our path, and we will work with the South Australian Government and industry and tertiary education providers to ensure we have the people capability and capacity to build, maintain and sustain our Defence assets.”

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Education, Jason Clare:

"This is a crucial investment in the future workforce of South Australia.”

"These additional South Australian university places will help to deliver the skilled workers necessary to support the AUKUS program for decades to come."