Morrison, Macron talk submarines in Paris
Scott Morrison has conceded there is still a long way to go to resolve issues with Australia's $90 billion submarine program after meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.
The prime minister dined with Mr Macron in Paris overnight before delivering a speech to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development on Wednesday.
French shipbuilder Naval Group has been tasked with delivering Australia's next fleet of submarines but the project has been hit by heavy delays and massive cost blowouts.
Defence secretary Greg Moriarty this month confirmed his department is looking at alternatives to French-designed submarines in case the troubled contract is sunk.
Mr Morrison on Wednesday described his talks with Mr Macron as positive, saying the pair had spoken candidly about issues with the contract.
"I appreciate the direct role that he has played in ensuring that we've seen a much-improved position come forward from Naval over the last six months," he told reporters in Paris.
"But there is still a long way to go.
"I leave knowing that we have properly raised the challenges that we need to address so it is now for us to work forward on that basis."
Naval Group executives visited Australia earlier this year in a bid to promote its commitment to maximising Australian content in the Attack Class submarines.
Defence has not yet secured a binding agreement on a minimum level of local content in relation to any one submarine.
The fleet will not be ready to enter service until the mid-2030s.
Asked whether the government would consider abandoning the contract, Mr Morrison said final details around the schedule and costs would soon need to be finalised.
"It is their contract - that is, Naval group - and like with any contract, I would expect them to be able to deliver on that," he said.
Mr Morrison earlier addressed the OECD council and its secretary-general, former cabinet colleague Mathias Cormann.
He said Australia's presence as an extension partner at the recent G7 summit had been invaluable in drawing attention to issues within the Indo-Pacific region.
"This has been an essential time for Australia's voice to be heard and I have been incredibly encouraged by the very strong and steadfast support that Australia has received," he said.
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