Canberra - Defence stopped ASC spruiking its shipbuilding abilities, a Freedom of Information request shows. The Advertiser revealed earlier this year that the tender for the $30 billion Future Frigates made it clear the foreign designers would not have to use the Adelaide shipbuilder. ASC had teamed up with WA shipbuilders Austal to pitch for the build of the warships. But the request for tender clearly stated there was no obligation to use an Australian company or their workforce, explicitly saying ASC did not have to be used. That prompted ASC chair Bruce Carter to warn the company would cease to exist by 2019 without ongoing work.
The FOI, requested by SA Best leader Nick Xenophon before he quit the Senate, found a draft letter that ASC and Austal planned to write to tenderers BAE, Ficantieri and Navantia, copying in senior figures including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
The letter outlined their experience and offered the designers a partnership including an eventual transition of responsibilities from the designer to the shipbuilders, which would be important for future exports.