Mr Pyne, who works as a defence adviser for consulting firm EY, said in 2017 that up to 90 per cent of work on the subs could be done in Australia, but did not insist on a specific Australian content target in the agreement with the majority French government-owned company.
He stood by that approach on Thursday, telling The Australian it would remove competition from the process “and without competition, the navy is liable to receive a substandard product”.
But he said 50 per cent local content was “not satisfactory”, and the government should insist on at least 60 per cent. “The government needs to hold their feet to the fire to ensure they fulfil their obligation,” he said.
Labor defence spokesman Richard Marles said if Mr Pyne wanted to ensure sufficient opportunities for Australian companies, he should have mandated a target.
“If Christopher has such strong feelings about Australian industry content then he would have ensured there was a commitment of a percentage of local content in the contracts he was responsible for signing,” he said. “The Collins-class (submarine) which was initiated under a former Labor government, had a target of 70 per cent, and it was exceeded.”
French contractors Naval have no such obligation, Mr. Pyne - you should know that, you signed off on the contract yourself. Unless you're now saying that you didn't read the contract?