Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union



New Defence Minister must act on shipbuilding

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his new Defence Minister Senator Marise Payne must take action to guarantee jobs and restore confidence in Australia’s shipbuilding industry.

The only way to deal with the crisis the Government has created in the industry is to take the overseas and ‘hybrid builds’ off the table and make the logical decision to build all our future naval vessels here in Australia. 

That includes honouring the Coalition’s election promise to build 12 future submarines in South Australia.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) is calling on the Government to abandon Tony Abbot’s failed policies and “captain’s calls” and make sensible decisions that give certainty to our shipbuilding industry. 

AMWU Assistant National Secretary Glenn Thompson said the Prime Minister must also rule out any option of a first or second submarine or frigate being built in an overseas shipyard before building begins in Australia. Any such move would have serious implications for the local defence industries, and supply chain. 

“The Coalition’s plummeting stocks in South Australia shows what the electorate thinks of sending shipbuilding work offshore while local workers join the unemployment queue.”

 “It’s about time this Government understood the impact their disastrous policies were having on the Australian economy,” Mr Thompson said.  

Shipbuilders in NSW, Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia and others working in the supply chain, can’t wait while Government wastes more time deciding on how to proceed. 

“We are calling on Malcolm Turnbull to recognise that workers in the industry and shipbuilding companies need new orders for offshore patrol boats and frigates to be placed as soon as possible.” 

“The Government has promised a continuous build and now it’s time for action rather than words,” Mr Thompson said. 

“We welcome reports that Mr Turnbull has taken a different view to Tony Abbott and has accepted the importance of a local build for Australia’s future submarines,” he said.

“Mr Turnbull and Senator Payne now need to follow through and direct the Defence Department to amend the Competitive Evaluation Process, making it mandatory for whichever foreign shipbuilder is eventually chosen, to build all the submarines here in Australia.”



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  • Senior Lecturer at WSU. Journal of Sociology. Social class, gender, family, education and work. My views are my own.