Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union last week welcomed the announcement by the Government to establish a submarine Land Based Test Site in South Australia, believing it could be an important step in readying local industry to design and building Australia’s next submarine fleet.
The AMWU’s National Secretary, Paul Bastian, called for both parties of politics and commentators to back Australia’s capability network and invest in future skills and jobs by spending Australian tax payers dollars in building the next fleet of submarines in Australia, and in the process, develop a naval maritime capacity that will last for generations.
“The opportunity for this industry to grow and innovate is immense. The alternative is to let jobs, skills and opportunities disappear – by choosing off-the-shelf designs and putting them together Ikea style, rather than backing our capability and consolidating and growing a highly skilled industry. Importantly, to be ready to seize the opportunity, the Future Submarine Industry Skills Plan highlights the need for a continuous ship building plan that maintains and grows the skills that will be required,” Mr Bastian said.
The time is for bold initiatives by Australian policy makers that back Australian workers and industry Mr Bastian believes, revealing the next submarine fleet being designed and built here could be the equivalent of the Snowy Mountain Electricity Scheme.
“The Prime Minister’s Manufacturing Taskforce highlighted Submarines as a major area in which local industry would benefit from collaboration, local production and industry innovation. We can build world class Subs here, and the benefits that flow to the local community, manufacturing industry, research and applied sciences and the overall economy are critical to our national interest.”
“Our home is girt by sea. Surely it is obvious that we need to invest in building our own national maritime capability” Mr Bastian added.