Concerned about the workers in Victoria’s defence industries, Minister for Industry, Lily D’Ambrosio, yesterday visited BAE Systems in Williamstown to receive an update on the future of naval shipbuilding in the state.
In a media release, Minister D’Ambrosio warned that up to 500 shipyard jobs at BAE will certainly be lost if the Prime Minister doesn’t place an order immediately from the Williamstown shipyard.
“While Tony Abbott frets about his own job, the jobs of 500 Victorians are hanging in the balance. Tony Abbott needs to place an order and give local businesses and local workers the certainty they deserve. Victoria’s naval shipbuilding industry is vital to Australia’s national interests,” the Minister said.
The Andrews Labor Government is calling on the Abbott Government to prevent this disaster by taking immediate steps to:
- Allocate more of the Air Warfare Destroyer blocks to Williamstown;
- Reverse its decision to exclude Australian businesses from tendering for work on the replacement of two ageing supply ships;
- Fast track orders for patrol boats;
- Ensure Australian industry content is specified in all defence contracts.
“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,” reads the media release.
The Labor Government also called on the Federal Senate Standing Committee on Economics to hold public hearings in Melbourne into the future sustainability of Australia’s strategically vital naval shipbuilding industry.
BAE has also urged the Government to advance orders of patrol boats in order to provide some certainty to the domestic industry.