6 June 2014
After nine months of sitting on their hands, the Abbott Liberal Government today announced they will desert local shipbuilders and will be sending work offshore.
Two Australian Navy supply ships are to be replaced under a limited tender process between Spanish and South Korean shipbuilders.
Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon has condemned the decision.
“The first thing we hear from this government on shipbuilding is that they don’t believe that Australian shipbuilders are up to the task and they’re sending Australian jobs and taxpayer dollars overseas,” Ms Claydon said.
“Their decision shows a lack of faith and vision for the industry. If this Abbott Liberal Government has their way we will be an island nation with no capacity to build ships.”
Before the election, the now Defence Minister told ABC Newcastle that he wanted to keep Defence manufacturing in Australia:
“I get really fired up when I find us giving away our manufacturing base in the Defence space to foreign manufacturers, it’s just not on.”
9 August 2013, ABC Newcastle.
“True to form, what this government says before an election and what it does after are two very different stories,” Ms Claydon said.
“I’ve visited our local shipbuilders at Forgacs a number of times and can attest to the quality of their work. They have highly-skilled workers with a proven track record of delivery.”
“Forgacs have made significant investment into the training of their workforce, resulting in continued improvements to productivity.”
While today’s decision to offshore construction of supply ships provides no joy for local industry or local jobs, there is perhaps some hope for the future with an announcement to construct 20 replacement Pacific Patrol Boats in Australia.
“Forgacs are well placed to bid for this work and I’m sure they will be a strong contender to secure future work, but it’s an anxious wait with details of the project and tender process yet to be announced.”
“When making major decisions on Australian industry we need to look at what is best for the nation– and that includes keeping people in work, developing skills for the future, and making sure we have the ability to build what we are going to need.”
“Labor believes in Australian workers and industry. We had a plan to bridge the Valley of Death and keep these highly skilled workers here in Newcastle, helping the local economy and building Navy ships that are essential for the future," Ms Claydon said.