AUSTRALIA: The Australian Government will pay French shipbuilder Naval Group $835 million in compensation, after last year’s decision to tear up a $90-billion contract to build 12 submarines.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese made the announcement this morning, saying the total amount of money spent by Australian taxpayers on the programme is now $3.4 billion.
“This is a saving from the $5.5 billion that Senate estimates was told would result from that programme,” Mr Albanese said.
“But it still represents an extraordinary waste from a government that was always big on announcement but not good on delivery, and from a government that will be remembered as the most wasteful government in Australia’s history since federation.”
The scrapping of the French submarine contract last September was a result of Australia entering the AUKUS security alliance with the United States and the United Kingdom, and gaining access to nuclear submarine technology.
The incident caused a deep fracture in diplomatic relations between Australia and France, with French President Emmanuel Macron going so far as to accuse then Prime Minister Scott Morrison of lying to him about the future of the contract.
“I’m looking forward to taking up President Macron’s invitation to me to visit Paris at the earliest opportunity, and we will make further announcements forthcoming about the dates in which that will occur,” Albanese said. – FRANCE 24