ASC set to take on Naval Group workers

Tim DorninAAP
Shipbuilder ASC has offered a lifeline to those affected by Canberra's change of direction over subs
Camera IconShipbuilder ASC has offered a lifeline to those affected by Canberra's change of direction over subs Credit: AAP

Adelaide-based shipbuilder ASC is ready to take on workers impacted by the federal government's decision to scrap its $90 billion contract with the French-based Naval Group to build conventionally powered submarines.

Naval Group currently employs about 350 people in South Australia, while about 40 relocated to France as part of the deal.

ASC chairman Bruce Carter said on Friday his company would reach out to all those affected.

"We will welcome them into ASC if they want to come here," he said.

"It is really important to us that we get the talent pool that the government has asked us to administer.

"It is important those people are part of ASC and part of the defence community."

On Thursday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the end of the Naval Group plan, with Australia to instead build nuclear-powered subs as part of a landmark security pact with the United States and the United Kingdom.

Mr Morrison said the Commonwealth would also invest $6.4 billion to maintain and extend the life of the Collins Class fleet, with the work to support about 1300 jobs in SA.

He said the government would spend a further $5.1 billion on upgrades to the Hobart Class destroyer combat management systems, creating a further 300 jobs in Adelaide.

Premier Steven Marshall acknowledged it was "tough times" for those currently employed by the Naval Group, with the workforce shocked by the news.

But he said his strong message to them was to stay in SA.

He said ASC would take "any or all" of the staff impacted by the federal government's plans.

"We need every single person, hands on deck, at the moment," he said.

"We certainly stand should-to-shoulder with those people at the Naval Group and we will provide them with every single opportunity to stay right here."

The premier said the state government would also work with the Commonwealth and Naval Group to help those workers who have relocated to France to return to Australia.

Mr Carter said ASC had provided a fact sheet to Naval Group employees and set up a website to allow them to make contact.

"It is really tough what they are going through," he said.

"We seek to reduce the anxiety by saying to them, you have a great future in ASC."

Mr Carter said he was confident the new nuclear submarines would include considerable local content.

"From a strategic capability, if you're an island you need to be able to build all of the parts to make up the submarine here," he said.

"For them to operate properly you need to build to sustain."

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