The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) has welcomed the Federal Government’s decision to award the Future Frigate project to BAE Systems.
The decision to build these vessels in Australia, using Australian steel and maximising local manufacturing companies and content has been a key campaign objective of the AMWU for several years.
Commencement of the Frigate build and the recent announcement regarding Offshore Patrol Vessels are important milestones in the AMWU’s campaign to secure the jobs of Australia’s skilled shipbuilding workforce.
“Transitioning the existing shipbuilding jobs to future projects is an important consideration the Government must now urgently address,” said AMWU Assistant National Secretary Glenn Thompson.
“Too many skilled jobs have gone and some of those workers will have been lost to the industry at a time when Australian shipbuilding needs them most.”
Mr Thompson said the Future Frigates program must utilise a high proportion of local content with a stringent verification and audit process to make sure what goes into building the frigates is Australian made, by Australian workers using Australian raw materials.
“As well as creating jobs in our shipyards, we have an opportunity to create a large number of jobs in the shipbuilding supply chain around Australia for skilled workers and apprentices,” he said.
Mr Thompson said the continuous build program for naval vessels should also be the catalyst for kick-starting advanced manufacturing.
“This program is a major opportunity to boost jobs, training and technology transfer to make sure the community and the Australian economy gets the maximum return on the investment the Australian Government is making,” Mr Thompson said.
He said the union shared the concerns of the Senate Economic References Committee in its final report into Naval Shipbuilding released last night about the need to mandate levels of local content.
The Committee recommended levels of local content, participation and involvement of Australian industry should be stipulated in contracts for each shipbuilding project.
Mr Thompson said the union would be discussing levels of local content for the Future Frigate Project with BAE Systems.
Media contact John Hill 0412197079