17 November 2023 –
The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) has welcomed the introduction of legislation into the Federal Parliament to establish a new safety regulator for naval nuclear power ahead of the AUKUS submarine program.
AMWU National Secretary Steve Murphy said establishing a safety regulator for naval nuclear power was a critical step to ensure the protection of workers, the community, and the environment, which must remain a key priority throughout the entire submarine build program.
“The AMWU welcomes the Albanese government’s priority establishment of an independent safety regulator for naval nuclear power as the nation embarks on the most significant naval shipbuilding program in its history.
“Establishing a naval nuclear power safety regulator early in the submarine build program is prudent and recognises the extreme risk of nuclear power to workers, our communities and the environment.
“The independent safety regulator will ensure that Australia is a responsible nuclear steward and adheres to the highest levels of safety concerning the delivery of the submarine program.”
Mr Murphy said that a critical responsibility of the safety regulator would be to ensure that Australia meets its non-proliferation commitments regarding nuclear power and nuclear weapons.
“While Australia commences the procurement and construction of the new submarines, it is critical this federal government, and those in the future, maintain their commitment to the non-proliferation of civilian nuclear power and nuclear weapons.
“The AMWU will continue to closely monitor the roll-out of the submarine program and Australia’s adherence to its nuclear non-proliferation international obligations.
“Our union also remains committed to articulating its concerns around the nuclear-powered submarine option as technology changes and advances around the world.”
Mr Murphy said AMWU would work closely with the government to ensure that Australia trained the highly skilled workforce and developed the supply chains required to deliver the submarine program.
“Australia’s shipbuilding program, including the delivery of its future submarines, requires a highly skilled local workforce and a specialised local supply chain.
“The AMWU is committed to working with the government to develop the workforce and supply chain necessary to ensure the submarine program delivers the maximum economic benefit to local communities and a successful outcome for the nation's defence.”
Media contact: Darren Rodrigo 0414 783 405