Labor has today called on the Abbott Government to commit to building both Australia’s Future Submarines and Future Frigates locally using a continuous build program.
While reports that the Government will build the Future Frigates in Australia are welcome, it is a disgrace that the Abbott Government still refuses to honour its promise to build the Future Submarines in Australia
Australia's Future Frigates must be built in Australia and so must our Future Submarines.
The Abbott Government must listen to the experts and commit to a viable, long-term future for Australia’s strategically vital naval shipbuilding industry across all existing sites.
Around a thousand jobs have been lost in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales as a result of the Government’s inaction on ship building.
The Government must guarantee that it will not break its promise to build Australia’s Future Submarines in South Australia, and save ship building jobs in Victoria and New South Wales.
Labor has committed to build Australia’s next generation of submarines in Australia, and has already announced its process to ensure value for money and the best outcome for Australia’s defence capability.
But submarines are only half the story – a truly world class ship building sector, will require a commitment from the Government to a continuous build program for both our Future Frigates and Submarines to ensure that these vessels not only have the best technology at the best price but also maximise efficiency and workforce expertise.
Only such an announcement from the Prime Minister will provide Australian shipbuilders with the certainty they need to make investments and to recruit and retain the highly-skilled workforce needed to build these vital capabilities for Australia’s defence forces.
Anything less will see Australian jobs sent offshore.
Expert advice is unequivocal that anything less than a commitment to build both the Future Frigates and Future Submarines in Australia will put at risk jobs, and our capacity to continue as a world-class naval shipbuilding industry for the long term.
“If Australia wants to have a long-term, sustainable, competitive, world-class naval industry, we need to plan to build both future frigates and future submarines in this country.”
Dr John White, Chairman of TKMS Australia, 22 July 2015
Only this approach will ensure long-term sustainable work for shipyards around Australia – anything less risks shipyard closures and further job losses.
Anything less will fail to meet Australia’s national security and sovereign shipbuilding requirements.
Experts have also confirmed what Labor has known all along and what Mr Abbott refuses to acknowledge – that given a fair go, Australian shipyards and their workers are highly skilled and cost‑competitive.
“We fundamentally believe that skilled Australian labour building ships in the right infrastructure, and management and incentives, can be as productive as anywhere else in the world”
Andrew Bellamy, Chief Executive Officer of Austal, 15 June 2015
The Prime Minister must admit his error in denying local companies and workers an opportunity to compete for Navy’s new Supply Ships by re‑opening the tender process for local competition to prevent further job losses in the short term.
Prior to the 2013 election the Coalition committed to building 12 submarines in South Australia. After the election, Tony Abbott began crab-walking away from this commitment and invented a sham submarine process during the height of Liberal leadership tensions to save his own job.
Labor is the only party that is able to make the decisions required for Australia’s strategic and economic needs, and will secure the long-term future of Australia’s naval shipbuilding capability.
Now is the chance for Tony Abbott to correct his mistakes, heed the advice of the experts and to work with Labor to ensure a continuous build of our Future Frigates and Submarines in Australia.