Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Monday that the country plans to build a nuclear-powered submarine base on its east coast for 10 billion Australian dollars ($7.3 billion).
Morison said 19 potential and three preferred sites in Brisbane, Newcastle, and Port Kembla have been provisionally selected for the base, which will be in addition to the operational base on the west coast housing the Australian Navy’s diesel-electric Collins submarines.
“The decision to establish an east coast submarine base has been many years in the making as part of our transition from Collins,” the prime minister revealed at the Lowy Institute, Sydney.
“However, the government has now determined that to support our decision to acquire nuclear-powered submarines, establishing a second submarine base on our east coast will enhance our strategic deterrent capability, with significant advantages in operational, training, personnel, and industrial terms.”
A new #AusNavy base will be built on the east coast of Australia in preparation for the nation's future nuclear submarine fleet. The submarine base will enhance the ability to deter threats against Australia and our national interests.
— Royal Australian Navy (@Australian_Navy) March 7, 2022
To Host US, UK Submersible Vessels
In addition to providing “specialized wharves, maintenance facilities, administrative and logistics support, [and] personnel amenities,” the facility will host visiting US and UK nuclear-powered submarines.
The initial inspections are expected to be complete next year before a final decision is announced.
Australia will receive a fleet of eight nuclear-powered submarines as part of the AUKUS security alliance signed with the US and the UK in September.
The submarines will not be nuclear-armed but have a greater range, speed, and quieter presence than conventional vessels, allowing strikes further from the coast.