New Industry Minister Christopher Pyne has finally backed a three-year campaign of shipbuilding workers and is supporting a domestic build for Australia’s future submarines.
“It would be great for Australia,” Mr Pyne told breakfast television this morning.
The Minister was responding to reports the Japanese had now joined their competitors, Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems and France’s DCNS by confirming they were prepared to build the submarines in Australia.
Mr Pyne: All three of them are now saying they'd prefer a domestic build, as a South Australian that's music to my ears - but we'll go through the proper processes and we'll make an announcement at the appropriate time but it sounds to me like all three bidders are picking up that we'd like to spend $50 billion of defence industry money in Australia where it creates jobs.
“This is great news for shipbuilders but this is the first time we have heard that the Federal Government is now backing a domestic build,” said Glenn Thompson, Assistant National Secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU).
“We cautiously welcome Mr Pyne’s change of position. However, shipbuilding workers were promised 12 submarines by the Coalition before the last election and have been disappointed by two previous Defence Ministers. We just hope the new one doesn’t disappoint again” said Mr Thompson.
“Instead of throwaway lines on television, what we need is for Prime Minister Turnbull, Defence Minister Senator Marise Payne and Mr Pyne to start backing Australia’s defence industry and Australian workers,” he said.
“If they genuinely believe a domestic submarine build is the best option, the three contenders for the submarine build should be instructed that the submarines must be built in Australia.”
“That means taking the options of a hybrid build and a full overseas build off the table.”
Mr Thompson said to do otherwise would cause further damage to a fragile Australian economy already left reeling from poor policy decisions by Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey.
Glenn Thompson is available for interview.
Media Contact John Hill0412197079