Rockingham makes waves as submarine hub

Rockingham City Council is set to embrace the benefits of an $8 billion investment into the Henderson Naval Base at Garden Island, according to the local council.

The announcement was made under the new nuclear submarine agreement between the AUKUS members and will cost more than $360 billion.

Rockingham mayor Deb Hamblin says from an economic perspective, the news will bring positive changes to the city.

“It means more and more jobs,” she says.

“Not just for defence people, but also for civilians; and most of them will come from the economic zone either here, Kwinana or Cockburn.”

Military weaponry displayed outside of the Rockingham Navy Club. Photo: Noah O’Reilly.

Senior lecturer in international relations and national security Gavin Briggs says we can expect a large influx of defence jobs into the state.

“There will be around 500 direct jobs for Western Australia between 2027 to 2032,” he says.

Mr Briggs says the jobs provided will sustain the submarine rotational force, which will operate among the members of AUKUS.

Concerns have been raised about the risks of having a nuclear-powered submarine based close to communities.

However, Ms Hamblin says not to worry.

“These subs do not have nuclear weapons on them. They are just powered by nuclear power,” she says.

Mr Briggs says new jobs won’t be available until roughly 2027.

But he is optimistic the agreement will provide growth and help develop the Royal Australian Navy.

“We’ve got a lot of companies and a lot of schools which are going to see a lot of demand for highly skilled workers,” he says.

“And that can only be a good thing for the economy as well as for the national economy.

“They will represent a strategic skillset that will become an invaluable asset as the submarine program progresses.”

Ms Hamblin says the Rockingham has a bright future ahead. Photo: Noah O’Reilly.

Ms Hamblin says the Australian navy must think about job-ready prerequisites now.

“We need to make sure we have trained and educated skilled people to be able to take on these employment opportunities.”