“Despite the fact that virtually all the senior people we spoke to were clear that the Collins Class capability is ‘strategic’ for Australia, there is no clear or shared public understanding of why this is a strategic capability nor of the implications that this has for sustainability. This leads to misunderstandings, ambiguity, and a lack of common purpose.” *
On Tuesday 13th December 2011 the Minister for Defence, Stephen Smith, and Minister for Defence Materiel, Jason Clare, released the report of Phase One of the Review of the Sustainment of Australia's Collins Class submarines, the Coles Review.
The Submarine Institute of Australia (SIA) welcomes the Coles Review as an important step in reforming the Collins Class sustainment environment.
In addition SIA agrees there is a lack of public understanding of the strategic nature of the submarine capability and is delighted to be able to table its comprehensive plans to change this.
In 2011 SIA embarked on a programme to increase widespread public understanding of the need for Australia’s submarine capability. In 2014 Australia will celebrate an event of national and historical significance – the Centenary of Australian Submarines. This event aims to fill in the gaps of public understanding and reinforce the importance of a place for submarines in Australia going forward.
Peter Horobin, President of SIA said, “SIA agrees with the Coles Review observation that Australia effectively owns the Collins Class design and that ownership of a submarine design requires the ‘parent nation’ to invest in facilities and equipment to allow it to operate the submarines effectively.”
February 1st 2012 will see the official launch of this programme by SIA, taking place at the Australian Maritime Museum in Sydney. Plans for the centenary year will be shared and an official centenary logo will be unveiled.
“The role of SIA is to promote informed discussion on submarine matters and hence we are extremely excited to embark on the journey towards the centenary year and look forward to unveiling our plans at the launch event in February 2012,” said Peter.
The first Australian Submarines, AE1 and AE2, were commissioned in the United Kingdom by the Australian Government of Alfred Deakin. February 2014 marks the centenary of Australian Submarines and 24 May 2014 marks the centenary of their arrival in Sydney NSW.
A detailed and extensive programme of national events and celebrations led by SIA is planned for 2014; conferences in Fremantle WA, displays and dedication ceremonies in Holbrook NSW, Geelong VIC, Brisbane QLD, Darling Harbour in Sydney NSW, workshops in Canberra and visitor programs for International Submarine Veterans.
This three-year programme, culminating in a range of exciting events in the centenary year, aims to increase awareness of Australia’s reliance on submarines in the defence of its interests over the past 100 years and into the future.
In addition, the centenary programme seeks to present Australia’s submarine history to the wider community in a manner that welcomes the next century of Australian submarines with enthusiasm, confidence and focus.
Australians are proud of their submarines and submariners. The centenary celebration provides an opportunity to bring our submarines closer to all Australians.
For further information or access to interview with Peter Horobin – President, SIA or Steve Davies – Committee Member SIA, please contact: Jenny Coyle.
08 9226 2222 or 0403 904 157
* Submarine Sustainment Review Phase 1 Report, The Coles Review, (Extract taken from page 9)