Relations between the Federal Government and the French company designing Australia's future submarines have hit a new low, with the Defence Minister declaring she will hold the group to account on its local industry commitments.
-- The chief executive of Naval Group questioned the capability of Australian suppliers in an interview with The Australian
-- Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said the Government would "hold Naval Group to account for the commitments they signed on for"
-- Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price has previously said there is no specific percentage requirement of Australian industry content included in the contract
The Minister's blistering attack followed comments from France-based Naval Group questioning the capability of local suppliers, and suggestions Australian businesses may not get half of the value of contracts under the $80 billion program.
Naval Group Australia chief executive John Davis told The Australian newspaper on Thursday that the company "didn't know the Australian market before we joined the program".
"Now we have a much deeper insight, and we recognise there is a lot more work to be done than we anticipated," he said.
A furious Defence Minister Linda Reynolds expressed her disappointment at the comments and said she would discuss the Government's expectation of strong Australian industry involvement when she met her French counterpart in Europe on Friday.
"I am disappointed by the comments attributed to Naval Group Australia on the Future Submarine Program as they do not reflect the strong collaboration between Naval Group and Australian industry on this program of national significance," Senator Reynolds said in a statement.
"Our Government will hold Naval Group to account for the commitments they signed on for to work with Australia's world-leading defence and shipbuilding industry." (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the ABC Australia website.