Malcolm Turnbull has created more than 3000 new shipbuilding jobs in Spain by signing off on a contract for the construction of two Australian Navy supply ships by Spanish shipbuilder Navantia.
But by preventing Australian shipyards from tendering for the supply ship contract he will now be held responsible for pushing an estimated 640 Australian shipbuilders onto the unemployment queue.
“This is a spectacular act of betrayal of our Australian shipbuilders who are facing further job losses while Prime Minister Turnbull sends their jobs offshore,” said Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) National Secretary Paul Bastian.
“What’s worse is the Government has been talking up its commitment to Australian shipbuilding by instigating a continuous build program for new frigates and Offshore Patrol Vessels, plus announcing an Australian build for submarines, at the same time it was quietly exporting Australian jobs to Spain,” Mr Bastian said.
Mr Bastian said there was a real prospect that more than 600 jobs at ASC’s shipyard in Adelaide would be lost as the Australian shipbuilding industry entered the ‘Valley of Death’ with no work available, before new work on patrol vessels and frigates could begin.
“These supply ships could have filled that gap and given the industry and shipbuilding workers the certainty they need, plus allowing ASC in Adelaide to maintain essential shipbuilding skills.”
“Instead we have Malcolm Turnbull and the Coalition saying they support Australian shipbuilding but doing the exact opposite, signing the contract with the Spanish only yesterday, and without even a media release to mark the occasion.”
“This is the worst kind of sell-out of Australian workers,” Mr Bastian said.
“Mr Turnbull’s failure to stand up for Australian shipbuilding jobs is conclusive proof that this Prime Minister is running Tony Abbott’s policies because it was Mr Abbott who insisted Australian shipyards would not be permitted to tender for the supply ships,” he said.
Mr Bastian said it was ludicrous for the Prime Minister to tell reporters there would be a large Australian industry involvement in the supply ships’ contracts when they were not being built here.
“Malcolm Turnbull has shown his real colours by this decision,” Mr Bastian said.
“This is a shameful decision from a Prime Minister who doesn’t care about the jobs of Australian workers. The only job he cares about is his own.”
Media contact John Hill 0412197079