Labor welcomes the Liberal Government’s announcement that shipbuilder Navantia will bring its experience and new management to the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) Project.
Labor has long supported the AWD Project, which to date is the nation’s most complex and largest defence project.
The AWD Project started under the Howard Government in 2005, with the former Labor Government making concerted efforts to fix schedule and management issues within the project.
While the Liberal Government continues to announce remediation strategies for the AWD project, the key paper which should inform such strategies, the Winter Review, still remains a secret.
Commissioned by the Liberal Government in December 2013 and delivered in June 2014, Defence Minister Marise Payne cannot continue to hide the Winter Review as it is an important contribution to both the AWD program and the future of the shipbuilding industry in Australia.
After being in office for over two years the Abbott/Turnbull Government has done little more than denigrate Australian manufacturing, sending shipbuilding jobs offshore and burying the Winter Review.
Malcolm Turnbull has said and done nothing about the more than a thousand jobs lost at Forgacs in Newcastle, ASC in Adelaide, and at BAE in Williamstown.
The Turnbull Liberal Government is just following the same policies that Tony Abbott inflicted on Australian manufacturing and its workers – Australia now risks losing its strategically critical shipbuilding capabilities.
The Government has provided no detail behind their $89 billion shipbuilding plan which was simply about shoring up votes in South Australia, and doesn’t look beyond the next election.
While those in the Government continue to take care of their own jobs, shipbuilders and their families continue to be left uncertain of their job security in the lead up to Christmas.
Malcolm Turnbull needs to stand up and prove he is different to Tony Abbott and commit to a building the Future Submarine Project in Australia.
Further, he should immediately re-open the tender for the Navy’s new supply ships to allow Australian companies and workers an opportunity to bid for this work.
It is time Malcolm Turnbull and Marise Payne joined with Labor and committed to a viable long-term future for our strategically vital shipbuilding capability.