Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union



20 February 2024 –

The Australian Shipbuilding Federation of Unions (ASFU) welcomes the Federal Government’s announcement that it will undertake the largest build of our naval fleet since the Second World War but has stressed the need for further detail on what the surface fleet review means for the industry’s future.

ASFU National Convenor Glenn Thompson said the Federal Government’s announcement gives significant comfort to the shipbuilding industry and its workforce.

“Federal Government’s commitment to the most significant naval shipbuilding program since the Second World War is good news for our shipbuilding workforce and the regional economies which support them.

“For many decades, the union movement has stressed the importance of developing a continuous build program for Australia’s shipbuilding industry, and this announcement makes considerable steps toward making that a reality.

“This announcement maps out a continuous naval shipping program that extends into the 2060s, and we applaud the government’s vision of foresight on this vital matter for our economy and the nation’s national security.

Mr Thompson said that while today’s announcement was good news for Australia’s shipbuilding sector, further detail was needed regarding what the surface fleet review meant to efforts to secure the industry.

“The ASFU will request the Government reconsider building the first three frigates overseas as we hold grave concerns on what this means for the knowledge and skills transfer into Australian industry and supply chains for the frigates 4 to 11, which are due to be built in Australia.

“The ASFU will seek further discussion with the government on these matters."

Mr Thompson said that the Federal Government’s announcement that it will proceed with constructing of six Hunter anti-submarine Frigates and three replacement Air Warfare Destroyers in the late 2020’s and early 2030’s will provide much-needed certainty to Australia’s shipbuilding workforce and the industry that employs them.

“The Hunter Class construction program constitutes an important step toward a continuous shipbuilding program for Australia and will help facilitate the development of the required shipbuilding workforce.

“Naval shipbuilding involves a diverse range of highly technical skills and trades, and a continuous Australian shipbuilding program will ensure we can support and retain that invaluable workforce into the future.

“Ensuring Australia can maintain a continuous shipbuilding program will deliver critical benefits for national defence and economy.

“Importantly, a continuous shipbuilding program provides highly skilled, well-paid and secure jobs for communities across Australia’s regions.

“We look forward to working with the Federal Government to help deliver Australia’s next generation of naval ships.” 

Media contact: Darren Rodrigo 0414 783 405

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