The Albanese government is set to make a pivotal announcement on the AUKUS subs deal on Tuesday.
The major deal in the trilateral security pact between the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia will be sealed at a high-level meeting in San Diego, Sky News Political Editor Andrew Clennell revealed on Sunday Agenda.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will be accompanied by UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and US President Joe Biden in the Californian city, where he will outline the detail of the agreement.
Mr Clennell said the PM is expected to commit more than $150 billion over 30 years for the AUKUS nuclear submarines, in what one government source termed “the most consequential industry policy since the John Button car plans in the 1980s”.
The announcement is expected to lift Australia’s defence spending over the next 30 years from 2 per cent of GDP to 2.5 per cent, or potentially as high as 3 per cent.
A leaked report from last week revealed the AUKUS plan involves purchasing five Virginia class nuclear-powered submarines from the United States to plug a capability gap in the Australian fleet.
The boats will be purchased in the 2030s, but at least one US submarine is expected to reach Australian shores in the coming years.
Senior US government officials told Reuters that Washington would forward deploy some submarines in Western Australia by around 2027.
Following the acquisition of the Virginia class fleet, a new class of submarines will also be built for Australia utilising British designs and American technology.
This is expected to significantly boost Australia’s economy, supply chains and local procurement of steel and critical minerals.
South Australia and Western Australia will reap much of the benefit from the AUKUS deal, with the states rumoured to be the sites of production locations for the submarines.
Port Kembla in New South Wales has emerged as a frontrunner for the Defence Department’s pick for an east coast submarine base.
The port boasts deep ocean approaches and superior surrounding infrastructure, which helped the town edge out Brisbane and Newcastle as a preferred location.
The initial AUKUS deal was announced in 2021 in a bid to secure and stabilise the Indo-Pacific region through the US and UK providing nuclear-powered submarine technology to Australia.
The upcoming deal will finally iron out the detail of the much-awaited plan to equip Australia with the technology.