AFR Report into Defence White Paper
The report in today’s Australian Financial Review about Tony Abbot’s Defence White Paper is deeply concerning for the remaining workers at the BAE Shipyards in Williamstown.
The report suggests that under Mr Abbott’s scheme ‘there would be one shipbuilder only, based in Adelaide, meaning the futures of facilities in Newcastle and Melbourne would be uncertain.’
Since the election of the Abbott Government hundreds of workers at the BAE shipyards have lost their jobs.
Today’s report is another kick in the guts for the remaining workers at BAE.
Despite promises of a shipbuilding plan, this Government has failed to provide a long-term strategy that recognises the importance of a viable local shipbuilding industry.
These are good, well-paying jobs in an industry that will be essential in the coming decades.
The industry does not need long-term government handouts or subsidies – it just needs certainty about future government plans and a fair go to compete for work.
Yet since coming to power Mr Abbott has done nothing to provide the certainty the local shipbuilding industry is desperately crying out for from his government.
Rather than a plan for local industry, Mr Abbott sent the contract to replace the Navy’s supply ships offshore, without giving local shipbuilders an opportunity to compete.
The Abbott Government then put out a tender for the future Pacific Patrol Boats with such unrealistic timelines that BAE Systems has said it will not even tender for the job.
Mr Abbott must provide a tangible way forward for our local shipbuilding industry and guarantee the future of Australia’s shipyards, including in Williamstown.
DATE 16 JULY 2015