Barton Deakin Brief: East Coast Submarine Base

Date: Mar 2022

Barton Deakin Brief: East Coast Submarine Base


In a speech to the Lowy Institute today, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that the Government plans to spend $10 billion developing a new submarine base on the East Coast of Australia. The base, intended to cater for Australia’s future nuclear-powered submarine fleet, will be located either in Brisbane, Newcastle, or Port Kembla.

Submarine Base:

  • As part of the AUKUS agreement, Australia is set to acquire a fleet of at least eight nuclear-powered submarines from the US or Britain. You can read a Barton Deakin Brief about AUKUS here.
  • The government’s intention is to build the submarines in Adelaide. The original time frame for delivery was around 2040, but the Defence Minister now says that they will be built ‘much sooner.’
  • The Prime Minister today announced that the government intends to build the new submarine base on the East Coast of Australia at one of three locations – Brisbane, Newcastle, or Port Kembla. The Defence Department has examined 19 possible locations.
  • The government estimates the cost of the new base to be $10 billion.
    • This base is to be in addition to current infrastructure on the West Coast.
  • The decision on the location of the base will be made by the end of 2023.
  • The government states that there will be significant economic benefits to this development:
    • Planned to be proximate to a large population base, it is intended that it will recruit and retain a substantial uniformed submarine workforce.
    • It will encourage wider investment in local communities and drive local economic growth.
    • The base will be used by visiting nuclear-powered US and UK submarines, further increasing the base’s economic footprint.

Australia’s Policy Stance

  • The Prime Minister used the speech to outline the Government’s plan for Australia’s foreign and security policy stance.
  • Morrison referenced a number of Government policies he believed would assist in building sovereign capabilities. This is in addition to strengthening ties in the region and with our Pacific Family.
    • $177 billion 10 year plan for cybersecurity and the protection of critical networks and infrastructure.
    • $1.5 billion sovereign manufacturing enterprise with particular focus on space, medical products, recycling and clean energy, resources technology, critical minerals processing and defence.
    • $1 billion sovereign guided weapons and explosive ordnance enterprise including acquisition of Tomahawk missiles.

Additional Information

  • To read the Prime Minister’s full speech click here.


For more information, contact David Alexander on +61 457 400 524, Grahame Morris on +61 411 222 680, Cheryl Cartwright on +61 419 996 066, or Samuel Gorman on +61 427 233 108