German shipbuilding giant ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) has recognised Australia’s potential to be a global hub for shipbuilding, and to create ‘50,000 jobs for skilled manufacturing workers’ if the future submarine project is kept at home in Australia.
Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) Assistant National Secretary Glenn Thompson welcomed the comments by the global chairman who described the future submarines as a “wonderful opportunity” for the future of high-tech Australian manufacturing.
The union noted that TKMS is pushing to win the $20 billion contract to build the future submarines in Australia.
“TKMS has echoed what the union has said all along – that the submarines, as part of a strategic, continuous shipbuilding program, is a nation building project for Australia’s future,” said Mr Thompson.
“In addition, innovative companies like TKMS are recognizing the value of Australia’s many shipbuilding yards, and seeing that Henderson in WA, BAE in Melbourne and Forgacs in Newcastle would provide value as module hubs for submarine work.
“This sort of thinking is what we need to really secure the industry – not a single-minded focus on one yard, but a whole-of-nation approach.”
TKMS Australian Chairman, Dr John White, has further echoed union, industry and State Government calls that submarines will help to secure jobs for large swathes of skilled workers that are facing an uncertain future.
“As TKMS have said publicly, we have approximately 30,000 automotive workers, 10,000 North West Shelf workers and up to 10,000 LNG workers who will soon be out of work due to industry wind-down,” said Mr Thompson.
“These highly skilled workers could easily form the backbone of future shipbuilding.
“We have very good tradespeople in Australia who are very flexible and innovative if you manage them,” Dr White said yesterday.
“Skilled labour is available in Australia in abundance, and there are not enough jobs over the next three to five years.”
Dr White said it was a myth that Australia couldn’t manage all the future shipbuilding and during the 1990s Australia successfully built 10 frigates, six submarines and numerous smaller ships.
“TKMS are leading the way with forward thinking around the shipbuilding industry. We hope that all the companies bidding for work on the submarines echo these thoughts, and that the Government sees the value in keeping this work here, in Australia,” said Mr Thompson.
“Workers, industry and the community are on a unity ticket regarding building submarines in Australia. It’s time the Government jumped on board.”
Media Contact: John Hill 0412 197 079