Media Release - Abbott Government Starving Shipyards and their workers

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24 June 2015

Almost two years on and Tony Abbott’s failure to act on shipbuilding has resulted in the starvation of another shipyard and more Australians losing their jobs.

The Newcastle Herald reports that 160 highly skilled ship construction workers from the Forgacs Tomago facility will be laid off.

This is on top of the 450 jobs that have already been lost at Forgacs on Tony Abbott’s watch. Media reports suggest the remaining 290 jobs are earmarked to go from Forgacs by Christmas.

Labor’s first thoughts are with the affected workers and their families who are dealing with this difficult time of anxiety and uncertainty.

Under the Abbott Government the industry has lost 610 jobs at Forgacs in Newcastle, 120 at ASC in Adelaide and hundreds more at BAE in Williamstown. Thousands more jobs are at risk.

It also follows an announcement last week by BAE Systems in Williamstown that it would not be tendering for the upcoming Pacific Patrol Boats due to the Government’s unfeasible timelines for the program.

Labor’s 2013 Future Submarine Industry Skills Plan, A Plan For The Naval Shipbuilding Industry was designed to maintain industry capacity, create jobs and maximise value for Defence acquisitions.

After the election the Abbott Government abandoned this plan and is decimating Australia’s sovereign shipbuilding capabilities.

Since coming to power two years ago the Abbott Government has done nothing but create dysfunction and chaos within the shipbuilding industry.

The decision to send the construction of Australia’s Navy supply ships offshore in June 2014 sent shock waves through the shipbuilding industry.

Just weeks later the industry learnt about the Prime Minister’s secret deal to send the construction of Australia’s Future Submarines to Japan.

Tony Abbott’s sham Competitive Evaluation Process is nothing more than a quick and dirty fix to save his own job and deliver his ‘Captain’s Pick’ to send our future submarines to Japan.

Tony Abbott must act immediately to reverse these negligent decisions, provide certainty for the shipbuilding industry and its workers, and secure Australia’s sovereign shipbuilding capacity for generations to come.

Only Labor has a credible plan to build the Navy ships and submarines Australia needs to protect our national strategic interests.

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Authorised by Sharon Claydon MP, 427 Hunter Street Newcastle