A Hunter defence industry advisor has welcomed Australia's decision to scrap its $90 billion submarine deal with France in favour of an agreement with the UK and USA.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Thursday morning, Australian time, that the three nations would form a partnership known as AUKUS which would deliver eight nuclear-powered attack class submarines to Australia.
The decision means Australia will pull out of a $90 billion contract with French company Naval Group to build 12 conventionally-powered attack class submarines.
Mr Morrison said the world was becoming more complex "especially here in our region, the Indo-Pacific" and the new partnership would seek to "engage, not to exclude".
Tim Owen, chair of Hunter Defence Task Force, said there remained an opportunity for the Hunter to provide an east coast "sustainment and maintenance port" for the new submarines.
"The Hunter had already made a case for this extension of support under the original contract with the French, because of our ship building heritage and the very significant manufacturing capability we have here in the Hunter," he said.
Mr Owen said Thursday's announcement was a "positive development" for the capability of the Royal Australian Navy.
He said that under the original agreement, French-designed Barracuda nuclear boats were being modified to run on diesel power, which he believed meant "there was always going to be significant risks and costs".
"Depending on which submarine is chosen ... the reduction in risk is a significant boost to the confidence the [Royal Australian Navy] will have in the introduction into service of this capability, as they are already in service," he said.
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