Susan Close MP
Acting Premier
Minister for Defence and Space Industries

In a huge vote of confidence in South Australia, the Commonwealth Government has agreed to provide more than 1000 additional STEM-focused university places in SA from next year to support the state’s endeavours in building nuclear-powered, conventionally armed submarines.

The Commonwealth’s commitment will see South Australia receive more than a quarter of the 4001 new additional STEM places announced nationwide.

The 1030 new places in SA represents an increase of 230 on the commitment first secured by the South Australian Government in a Cooperation Agreement with the Commonwealth in the wake of the AUKUS pact announcement in March.

700 of the STEM places will be delivered by the University of Adelaide, while Flinders University will deliver 330.

The decision to provide the additional places represents a vote of confidence in the Malinauskas Government’s historic plan to create a new Adelaide University.

To receive the additional STEM places, universities were assessed against a range of criteria, including their plans to support the expansion of enrolment levels and initiatives to increase participation of students from underrepresented backgrounds.

As part of the university merger agreement, the new Adelaide University will benefit from a $120 million student support fund, while Flinders University will benefit from a similar $40 million fund.

This investment in South Australian skills and education is further evidence of the confidence in our State’s shipbuilding capacity and other high tech industries including space, renewable energy and manufacturing.

The announcement builds on other momentum to progress the AUKUS submarines, including an agreement to exchange land between the Commonwealth and South Australian Governments entered into earlier this month. The agreement will see the State Government transfer land at Osborne to the Commonwealth to begin work on a new submarine construction yard to begin this year.

In return, the State Government will receive ownership of Defence sites at Keswick and Smithfield, which will be used for urban renewal, and at Cultana near Whyalla, which will be used to support growth in the hydrogen and renewable energy industries.

An estimated 4,000 South Australian workers will be employed to design and build the infrastructure for the new submarine construction yard. A further 4,000 to 5,500 direct jobs will be created across to build the nuclear-powered submarines in South Australia when the program reaches its peak.

Quotes attributable to Susan Close
This is a huge vote of confidence in our state’s ability to both train a highly skilled workforce and manufacture these highly complex machines.

This Commonwealth decision backs in our move to progress the creation of Adelaide University, which will have a greater capacity to deliver high quality research and more high quality graduates from all parts of our state.

These places mean we can immediately start building the skilled workforce that will sustain our existing and future defence capabilities.

Published On: November 29th, 2023