Shadow Defence Minister, Richard Marles has today committed to saving jobs in Australia’s shipbuilding industry at a press conference in Osbourne.
“We have been demanding the Coalition do something about these job losses, but it has become clear that they will stand-by and do nothing. We called on the Labor Party to act and this commitment will protect the jobs of skilled shipbuilders and the nation’s shipbuilding capacity for years to come,” said Dale Beasley, Director Professionals Australia.
In the conference, Mr Marles said that if Labor win the federal election, they will call an emergency summit within the first four weeks. This summit, to be held in Osbourne, will be held alongside BAE, Naval, Lurssen, shipbuilding workers and their unions to address the state of the industry’s workforce.
In a media statement, Glenn Thompson, Convenor, Australian Shipbuilding Federation of Unions (ASFU) said:
“More than 450 jobs have been lost at ASC shipping since Mr Pyne [outgoing Defence Minister] announced the shipbuilding ‘valley of death’ was over in 2017.”
Under the Coalition, our shipbuilding industry faces many challenges including:
- Transfer of knowledge from offshore design organisations, including building the engineering capability within Australia to sustain such an enterprise. Otherwise we will be doing little more than building to print and not truly building a complete capability in Australia
- The ability to ensure that Australia is an informed purchaser, enabled to ensure we get the capability we need.
- Securing and developing the engineering and technical workforce required at a time of great competition for engineering skills among a limited pool of professionals.
- Creating a stable industrial relations platform across the industry and dealing with issues around workforce mobility
- Politicians who use the acquisition of Defence capability as a political football.
The ASFU says that Mr Pyne has done nothing to secure jobs at ASC Ships and will cost millions of dollars in future retraining costs for the industry.
Professionals Australia members are some of the best and brightest minds in STEM, delivering vital technical expertise to the shipbuilding program. Many contribute to policy development and implementation, research and analysis, project and service delivery, regulation and investigation, and management; providing vital services and programs.
“We have asked the Liberal-National Coalition ministers to commit to repairing Australia’s STEM workforce, but they will be taking a business as usual approach if they with election,” said Dale.
With the Hunter Class frigate system due to commence, it’s important to retain highly skilled personnel at the helm of such a pivotal project to Australia’s Defence Department.
Media Contact: Dale Beasley 0433 847 325