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AMC to train submarine makers

Edition 182_Shortfin Barracudas

Technicians employed to research, customise, build and maintain Australia's $50 billion fleet of Shortfin Barracuda submarines will undergo training in Tasmania.

The University of Tasmania signed a Memorandum Of Understanding with four French institutions in March for the joint training of the submarine workforce at the Australian Maritime College (AMC) in Launceston.

The 12 submarines will be built in Adelaide's Osborne shipyards by French contractor, DCNS.

They will replace six Australian-built Collins-class submarines that have been in service since 1996.

UTAS's Deputy Vice-chancellor, Professor Monique Skidmore, said the training contract signed in Nantes, France, would be a boost for Launceston.

"This workforce will travel between Launceston and France to gain ... qualifications," she said.

"They will do at least 50 per cent of their training in Tasmania, and then that will ... generate lots more opportunities for what we hope is a Defence precinct in Launceston," Professor Skidmore told the ABC.

"There's an enormous amount of research and development that needs to go on to be able to create these submarines, and all of that high-level thinking, expertise, will occur in Launceston."

Training will begin in Tasmania in September 2018.

The Minister for State Growth, Matthew Groom, said "It will put the [AMC] at the forefront of the teaching and research work that will inform the delivery of Australia's submarine fleet."

He said the State Government had worked to ensure Tasmania received its fair share of Defence contracting.

"In order to increase our share of Defence spending, we need to ensure that we have the skills and the linkages with the Defence sector to contribute to significant national projects such as this," Mr Groom said.

DCNS has built more than 100 submarines for nine countries.

Its contract with the Australian Government is expected to generate work over a 30-year time-span.

DCNS has well-established relationships with the four French signatories to the training agreement: ENSTA ParisTech; École Centrale de Nantes; CentraleSupélec; and École Polytechnique.

Professor Arnaud Poitou, Director of École Centrale de Nantes, said: “This MOU is important as it gives a long-term perspective which allows us to grow something strong and enduring. 

Professor Skidmore said: “This agreement has come about because of our university’s capacity for inter-disciplinary research and our highly regarded pedigree in the STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

"It is why the university is pursuing a vision for a STEM Precinct in Hobart, which would considerably enhance these strengths, which could then be leveraged for the benefit of the entire State.”

The AMC says its Defence-related strengths include:

  • Workforce-reskilling through world-class facilities and expertise for the training of maritime engineers, ship designers and fleet personnel;
  • The design, development and application of modern smart Defence technologies, through a centre of excellence in autonomous underwater vehicles;
  • Research capacity through the Australian Research Council Research Centre for Naval Design and Manufacturing; and
  • Advanced simulation and simulator design to enhance workforce capabilities.

However, The Federal Government has announced plans for a Maritime Technical College to be established in South Australia, raising fears that funding will be directed away from the AMC.

UTAS Provost Professor, Mike Calford, said: “We have spent five years building the AMC towards financial sustainability and the emerging key to this was a Defence and design precinct developed around the existing site.

“This outcome is perplexing, given the bipartisan support of the Tasmanian Senators last month [for] the AMC’s capacity as a Defence training and research provider.”

A spokesperson for the Minister for Defence Industry, Christopher Pyne, said the new technical college would complement rather than compete with existing institutions.

"The Government remains committed to the world-class education that is provided by the Australian Maritime College," the spokesperson said.

"Given the AMC's track record in providing excellent training, they are in the box seat to provide training into the [new college's] training network."

Image courtesy of the Royal Australian Navy

7 April 2017, Edition 182

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Facts about Tasmania

Tasmania

Tasmania is the southernmost state of Australia, located at latitude 40° south and longitude 144° east and separated from the continent by Bass Strait. It is a group of 334 islands, with the main island being 315 km (180 miles) from west to east and 286 km (175 miles) north to south.

Tasmania

Tasmanians are resourceful and innovative people, committed to a continually expanding export sector. In 2012-13, international exports from the state totalled $3.04 billion. USA, China, Taiwan, India, Japan and other Asian countries account for the bulk of exports, with goods and services also exported to Europe and many other regions.

Geography

Tasmania is similar in size to the Republic of Ireland or Sri Lanka. The Tasmanian islands have a combined coastline of more than 3,000 km.

Geography

The main island has a land area of 62,409 sq km (24,096 sq miles) and the minor islands, taken together, total only 6 per cent of the main island's land area. The biggest islands are Flinders (1,374 sq km/539 sq miles), King, Cape Barren, Bruny and Macquarie Islands.

Geography

About 250km (150 miles) separates Tasmania’s main island from continental Australia. The Kent Group of Islands, one of the most northerly parts of the state, is only 55km (34 miles) from the coast of the Australian continent.

Climate

Twice named 'Best Temperate Island in the World' by international travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler, Tasmania has a mild, temperate maritime climate, with four distinct seasons.

Climate

In summer (December to February) the average maximum temperature is 21° Celsius (70° Fahrenheit). In winter (June to August) the average maximum is 12° C (52° F) and the average minimum is 4° C (40° F). Snow often falls in the highlands, but is rarely experienced in more settled areas.

Annual Rainfall

Tasmania’s west coast is one of the wettest places in the world, but the eastern part of the State lives in a rain-shadow. Hobart, the second-driest capital city in Australia, receives about half as much rain as Sydney.

Annual Rainfall

Annual rainfall in the west is 2,400 mm (95 inches), but hardy locals insist there is no such thing as bad weather, only inadequate clothing. If you travel 120 km east to Hobart, you experience a much drier average of 626 mm (24 inches) a year.

Population

The 512,875-strong community spreads itself across the land; less urbanised than the population of any other Australian state. Hobart, the capital city, is home to more than 212,000 people.

Capital City

Hobart nestles at the foot of Mt Wellington (1,270 m / 4,000 ft) and overlooks the Derwent Estuary, where pods of dolphins and migrating whales are sometimes seen from nearby beaches. Surrounded by thickly forested rolling hills, the city is home to the state parliament and the main campus of the University of Tasmania.

Capital City

Its historic centre features Georgian and Regency buildings from colonial times. Hobart is home port for coastal fishing boats, Antarctic expeditions and vessels that fish the Southern Ocean.

Land Formation

Mountain ranges in the south-west date back 1,000 million years. Ancient sediments were deeply buried, folded and heated under enormous pressure to form schists and glistening white quartzites.

Land Formation

In the south-west and central highlands, dolerite caps many mountains, including Precipitous Bluff and Tasmania's highest peak, Mt Ossa (1617 m / 5300 ft). More than 42 per cent of Tasmania is World Heritage Area, national park and marine or forest reserves.

Flora

Vegetation is diverse, from alpine heathlands and tall open eucalypt forests to areas of temperate rainforests and moorlands, known as buttongrass plains. Many plants are unique to Tasmania and the ancestors of some species grew on the ancient super-continent, Gondwana, before it broke up 50 million years ago.

Flora

Unique native conifers include slow-growing Huon pines, with one specimen on Mt Read estimated to be up to 10,000 years old. Lomatia tasmanica, commonly known as King's holly, is a self-cloning shrub that may well be the oldest living organism on earth. It was discovered in 1937.

Fauna

Tasmania is the last refuge of several mammals that once roamed the Australian continent. It is the only place to see a Tasmanian devil or eastern quoll (native cat) in the wild and is the best place to see the spotted-tailed quoll (tiger cat), all carnivorous marsupials.

Fauna

The eastern bettong and the Tasmanian pademelon, both now extinct on the Australian continent, may also be observed.

Fauna

The Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, was Australia's largest surviving carnivorous marsupial and is a modern day mystery. The last documented thylacine died in captivity in 1936 and although the animal is considered extinct, unsubstantiated sightings persist.

History and Heritage

Aboriginal people have lived in Tasmania for about 35,000 years, since well before the last Ice Age. They were isolated from the Australian continent about 12,000 years ago, when the seas rose to flood low coastal plains and form Bass Strait.

History and Heritage

Descendants of the original people are part of modern Tasmania's predominantly Anglo-Celtic population.

History and Heritage

Tasmania was originally named Van Dieman’s Land by the Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman in 1642. The island was settled by the British as a penal colony in 1803 and the original name was associated with the convict era. It was changed to Tasmania when convict transportation stopped in 1853.

Economy

A resourceful island culture has generated leading-edge niche industries, from production of high-speed catamaran ferries and marine equipment to lightning-protection technology.

Economy

Tasmanians produce winches and windlasses for some of the world's biggest ocean-going pleasure craft; large-scale inflatable evacuation systems and provide specialist outfit-accommodation services to the marine industry.

Economy

The Wooden Boat Centre at Shipwrights Point has re-established the skills and traditions of another age and attracts students from around the world.

Economy

Tasmania is a world leader in natural turf systems for major sporting arenas and in areas of mining technology and environmental management. Its aquaculture industry has developed ground-breaking fish-feeding technology and new packaging.

Economy

Tasmanians sell communications equipment to many navies and their world-class fine timber designers and craftsmen take orders internationally for furniture made from distinctive local timber.

Economy

The state is a natural larder with clean air, unpolluted water and rich soils inviting the production of 100 varieties of specialty cheeses, as well as other dairy products, mouth-watering rock lobsters, oysters, scallops and abalone, Atlantic salmon, beef, premium beers, leatherwood honey, mineral waters, fine chocolates, fresh berry fruits, apples and crisp vegetables.

Economy

Tasmania is a producer of award-winning cool-climate wines, beers, ciders and whiskies. Other export products include essential oils such as lavender, pharmaceutical products and premium wool sought after in Europe and Asia. Hobart is a vital gateway to the Antarctic and a centre for Southern Ocean and polar research.

Economy

The industries in Tasmania which made the greatest contribution to the state's gross product in 2010-11 in volume terms were: Manufacturing (9.4%), Health care and social assistance (8.2%), Financial and insurance services (7.2%), Ownership of dwellings and Agriculture, forestry and fishing (each 7.1%).

Getting to Tasmania

Travel is easy, whether by air from Sydney or Melbourne, or by sea, with daily sailings of the twin ferries Spirit of Tasmania 1 and 2 each way between Melbourne and Devonport throughout the year.

This site has been produced by the Brand Tasmania Council © 2014

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