WORKERS WILL MEET AT THE OFFICE OF MICHAELIA CASH (44 OUTRAM STREET PERTH)
FOLLOWED BY A MARCH TO PARLIAMENT HOUSE
Shipbuilders will rally today to highlight the need for an urgent boost to the shipbuilding industry to head off expected job losses.
“The Coalition Government has announced a continuous build program for future naval vessels but that won’t help shipbuilding workers and their families whose jobs will be lost before Christmas,” said Glenn Thompson, Assistant National Secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU).
As the Shipbuilders’ Union, the AMWU has taken delegates from the shop floor to Canberra this week to speak to Liberal MPs face to face.
“The clear message from workers is that while the continuous build program is a welcome development, what they most need is certainty and job security ahead of the changes the government has promised for the shipbuilding industry,” Mr Thompson said.
A key discussion point for workers and the industry has been the need for new orders to be placed with Australian shipyards to reduce the impact of the Valley of Death, the lag time between major shipbuilding projects, when jobs are most at risk.
“While we are encouraged by signs from Canberra that an overseas build for the Future Submarine Project now appears to be dead in the water, the Turnbull Government needs to urgently kickstart the industry, instead of allowing it to wither on the vine.”
The visit comes as the Government is set to release a Defence White Paper and the Shipbuilding Plan in the first quarter of 2016. The White Paper will set the agenda for the number of submarines that will be built and where they will be built.
Despite being a senior member of the Coalition in 2013, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull recently described the Government’s 2013 promise to build 12 submarines in Australia as “archaeology”.
“Jobs are being lost and more are at risk throughout the industry, at major defence contractors and smaller companies in the supply chain.”
“We can’t expect these workers to wait around on the dole queue for years while the Government takes its time to decide when to start building new frigates and Offshore Patrol Vessels.”
“It is clear these projects need to be brought forward and with the Landing Helicopter Dock and the Air Warfare Destroyer projects winding down, it’s time the Government bit the bullet and took a decision to support the shipbuilding industry.”
Media contact John Hill 0412 197 079