Minister for Industry Lily D’Ambrosio has urged the Abbott Government to move quickly and provide Victoria’s defence workers with the certainty they deserve following BAE Systems’ announcement that it will shed 80 trade positions at its shipyard in early July.
Last week, Ms D’Ambrosio sought a meeting with Federal Defence Minister and Victorian MP Kevin Andrews, urging him to immediately place an order and prevent further job loss in the defence sector.
She called on the Government to accelerate the SEA 5000 Future Frigate and SEA 1179/80 Patrol Boat replacement projects, to provide funding for a fourth Air Warfare Destroyer, to specify Australian industry content for the Navy’s replenishment ships and ensure BAE has an opportunity to compete for this work, and to bring forward the timing of decisions and awarding of the Pacific Patrol Boat contract to early 2016.
“The Abbott Government is abandoning Victorian workers. Tony Abbott needs to place an order to save these jobs,” Ms D’Ambrosio said in a media release.
“Only by putting Australian defence manufacturing first can the Abbott Government ensure our defence personnel have the equipment they need to safely secure our national interests.”
She said the Andrews Labor Government was doing everything possible to back Victorian defence workers and support this industry.
“The 2015-16 Victorian Budget provides $200 million for a Future Industries Fund to invest in our high-growth industries, such as defence technology,” the Minister said.
Ms D’Ambrosio also criticised the Abbott Government for cancelling an order for Australian Defence Force uniforms, which directly affected the job security of some 70 workers at Workwear Group‘s West Footscray factory.
“Without an order for any combat uniforms in the 2015-16 financial year the defence supplier could be forced to close at the end of June.”