French subs firm to set up Australian HQ in Adelaide

20 December

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South Australia’s $50 billion Future Submarine Program continues to move ahead with French company DCNS establishing its Australian headquarters in Adelaide.

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was in Adelaide for this morning’s site foundation ceremony, also attended by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Premier Jay Weatherill.

The new DCNS headquarters will be dedicated to delivering the Future Submarine Program in Adelaide and will open with a workforce of 50 in early 2017.

Minister Le Drian will also meet separately with the Premier and Defence Industries Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith to discuss the State Government’s work with the Department of Defence, industry, DCNS and educational institutions to grow the skills base of the predominately local workforce.

South Australia and France are continuing to develop close ties since the selection of DCNS as the preferred design partner for the Future Submarine Program.

Opportunities for collaboration and strengthening of ties between South Australia and France have been occurring more broadly across a range of sectors including education and investment.

South Australian engineers will soon travel to Cherbourg-en-Cotentin in Normandy while members of the French supply chain will re-locate to Adelaide to undertake preliminary work on the program.

Recently the Premier and French Ambassador Christophe Lecourtier signed a Memorandum of Understanding to make way for two-way investment and economic ties between the two regions.

Earlier this month, the Mayor of Port Adelaide Enfield Gary Johanson and Mayor of the City of Cherbourg-en-Cotentin in Normandy Benoît Arrivé signed a letter of intent that paved the way for a sister-city relationship, focusing on economic and port industry development.

Premier Jay Weatherill said a strong defence industry was a vital part of South Australia’s high-tech advanced manufacturing future.

“We are committed to working closely with France to provide all the support and assistance it will take to successfully deliver the $50 billion Future Submarine program,” he said.

“This project will deliver thousands of direct jobs in South Australia in shipbuilding, at the DCNS headquarters officially opening today, in supply chain jobs and further positions in combat system integration.”

Defence Industries Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith said the South Australian connection with DCNS opened up opportunities for South Australian industry to enter the French markets and potentially wider European markets.

“This new local presence for DCNS represents the commitment by our French partners to support our strong track record of delivering Australia’s most complex defence systems integration projects in recent history,” he said.

DCNS Australia Chief Executive Officer Sean Costello said today’s event was an important early milestone in DCNS’ decades long commitment to the design and construction of 12 regionally superior submarines in Adelaide.

“The facility will become operational in early 2017 to support our activities around Australia.,” he said.

“This will include transferring technology from France to Australia, the development of the Australian supply chain and the design of a new shipyard in Adelaide.

“We are planning from the beginning to maximize the participation of Australian business in this $50 billion project.

“As an indication of local enthusiasm, just two weeks ago over 450 Australian companies, research and development institutions and educational organisations attended a Future Submarine Program briefing event in Adelaide,” Mr Costello said.