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AMWU NSW & ACT: NSW budget “a missed opportunity”

The NSW government’s budget is a missed opportunity to invest in local manufacturing and create jobs, the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union NSW & ACT (AMWU) says.  

New research from the McKell Institute has made clear what the AMWU has always known. It showed that choosing to build transport infrastructure locally would create thousands of manufacturing jobs and boost the economy by nearly half a billion dollars. 

Despite outlining billions in spending on infrastructure projects in this budget, the NSW government has made no commitment to prioritise local procurement and implement content quotas on projects. This means that NSW workers and communities continue to miss out. 

AMWU members are proud of their contributions to locally-made infrastructure, but when contracts for our trains, ferries, buses and light rail are consistently offshored, younger workers question whether the industry has a future.  

Increased investment in TAFE would support these young workers and boost our manufacturing industry. In recent years, TAFE funding cuts have seen jobs lost, campuses sold off, and a reduction in the number of courses for manufacturing trades. But this budget only includes a commitment to boost funding for virtual learning.  

Our trade apprentices need practical, in-person learning where they spend time on the tools. Virtual learning does not cut it for them.  

This budget also does little to boost pay for workers, at a time when wage rises are at record lows. Raising the public sector wage cap back up to 2.5% is not a pay rise, despite what the government claims; it barely keeps pace with inflation. 

The government should commit pay rises for essential workers that go beyond cost-of-living increases. When workers get a pay rise, we all benefit.   

Quotes attributable to Cory Wright – State Secretary, AMWU NSW & ACT 

“We have skilled workers who are willing and able to build our transport infrastructure here, but the NSW government refuses to make commitments on local procurement. We need a government that puts local jobs first.” 

“By not investing in practical skills through TAFE, our government is failing both the young apprentices who need training and the older workers looking to reskill. We need to prepare our workers for jobs in the industries of the future, such as manufacturing renewable energy components.”  

“The treasurer says the government is driving a manufacturing renaissance, but that means nothing if we don’t develop local supply chains and train the skilled workforce we desperately need.” 

“The government had the power to deliver a pay rise for millions of workers and put money into communities. What we see instead is a commitment to keeping wages low for our essential workers.” 

Media contact: Sophia Morris - 0400 889 166 or [email protected]

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