Australia’s shipbuilders and the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union have been warning for more than two years that jobs in the industry would be on the line unless new naval shipbuilding orders were brought forward. But the Federal Government has refused to listen.
Now BAE Systems has announced another 200 jobs will be lost before Christmas at its Williamstown shipyard in Victoria with a further 150 jobs likely to go early next year.
The news revealing how important it is for the Turnbull Government to start making decisions that sustain the industry instead of costing it jobs.
“These job losses could have been prevented if the Coalition Government had brought forward construction of the Pacific Patrol boats and two new supply ships for the Navy,” said Glenn Thompson, Assistant National Secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union.
“These same workers who will now be losing their jobs have recently completed two Landing Helicopter Docks (LHDs) for the Navy and the construction of hull blocks for the Air Warfare Destroyer project so there’s no question about their capabilities,” he said.
Mr Thompson said it wasn’t good enough for the Turnbull Government to promise it would move to a continuous shipbuilding strategy sometime in the future and then stand by while shipyards faced closure and jobs were lost.
“Shipbuilding has been recognised as a important part of Australia’s national security and a big contributor to the national economy,” he said.
Mr Thompson said it was of enormous concern to the AMWU and its members that the lack of shipbuilding orders had led BAE Systems to warn that its shipyard could face closure.
“It’s time for Malcolm Turnbull and his Cabinet to wake up to the state of Australian shipbuilding and throw it a lifeline.”
Glenn Thompson is available for interview.
Media contact John Hill 0412 197 079