4 March 2015
Last month the Minister for Defence was in Newcastle cutting ribbons with Bob Baldwin and missed a perfect opportunity to deliver certainty to shipbuilding workers and their families.
Rather than secure the future of the industry in Newcastle by expediting naval patrol boat work promised last year, the Minister for Defence and Bob Baldwin just offered more excuses.
“We are facing the loss of an entire industry and our shipbuilding capability will be lost forever,” said Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon.
“Thousands of jobs around the country will be lost and we won’t have the ability to build our own naval fleet. In the 18 months since they were elected the Abbott Liberal Government have delivered no plan for Australian jobs and no plan for industry.”
Hundreds of Newcastle jobs are in danger because of the Government’s inaction, with local shipbuilder Forgacs announcing more than 100 job losses this month and flagging that their entire workforce may be out of a job by Christmas.
“The Abbott Liberal Government has done nothing for the shipbuilders of Newcastle and it’s costing hundreds of people their jobs,” Ms Claydon said.
“Since Tony Abbott was elected the unemployment rate in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie has more than doubled and his government continue to sit on their hands.”
“I’ve met with Forgacs, workers and unions, joined them at rallies and had the Leader of the Opposition up at the dock. The Shadow Minister for Defence and Shadow Assistant Minister for Defence have also visited Forgacs, a Senate Inquiry led by Labor has been to Newcastle and I have consistently raised the issue in Parliament.”
“Forgacs have been very upfront with the Government, warning that if they don’t outline their plan for the industry and bring work forward soon, they will be forced to close their doors and nearly 1,000 highly-skilled local men and women will be without a job by mid-2015.”
“The Government knows what needs to be done and they can act now if they choose. The highly-skilled and dedicated workers at Forgacs deserve certainty and action, not more delays. I again call on the Abbott Liberal Government to act in the national interest and commit to a long-term rolling build of our naval ships in Australia. There is no time to waste."