26 September, 2022 – Australia runs the risk of letting thousands of well-paying, secure manufacturing jobs go to waste if the next generation of submarines is built overseas, the Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union has warned.
Responding to reports suggesting the US Biden administration is seeking to build Australia's next nuclear submarines, AMWU South Australia State Secretary and SA convenor of the Australian Shipbuilding Federation of Unions Peter Bauer said workers at South Australian shipyards deserved the certainty and security of knowing that next-gen builds would be delivered as promised.
"South Australian advanced manufacturing is some of the best in the world," Bauer said.
"With investment, commitment and a long-term plan from state and federal governments, we can deliver world-class submarines that meet Australia's strategic needs. We've seen what happens when we try to outsource our domestic defence requirements – we get off-the-shelf vessels that don't meet Australia's unique needs. Building the next generation of subs here in South Australia will improve Australia's defence capabilities, and provide thousands of workers and their communities with stable, long-term employment.
"The suggestion that Australia pay to expand the United States' submarine manufacturing capabilities is ridiculous," Bauer said. "Should we subsidise American car manufacturing as well? Governments have a responsibility to invest in local communities. If the federal government keeps faith with South Australian manufacturing workers, they will repay that faith tenfold. Outsourcing work like this to America – and paying for the privilege – would be a ripoff deal for South Australian workers and the taxpayer."
Media contact: Alex McKinnon 0419 286 145