Malcolm Turnbull has once again left Australian shipbuilders in the lurch.
The Turnbull Government is refusing to guarantee no more workers in the industry will lose their jobs, because they can’t.
The ugly truth hidden in their plan is that more Australian workers will lose their jobs because the government was too busy playing politics to get on with supporting local industry. This is evident from page 70 of the Plan under the section entitled “Foreign Workers”, which clearly spells out the Government’s intention to offshore Australian jobs.
The key test for any industry plan is maximising local content, like steel. The Naval Shipbuilding Plan does nothing to make sure Australian ships are made in Australia with Australian steel.
When asked point blank, Christopher Pyne failed to guarantee minimum levels of Australian content in any build. This does nothing to provide certainty for Australian industry.
No wonder the Government was reluctant to release its Naval Shipbuilding Plan. It confirms what Labor has been worried about for a long time.
Over 2,300 people in the naval shipbuilding industry lost their jobs while the Abbott/Turnbull Government sat on their hands.
Now the Liberals have the hide to claim Australia faces a shortfall in qualified trades to deliver our vital shipbuilding requirements.
Nothing in this plan guarantees Australian small and medium sized businesses will get a shot at any shipbuilding or maintenance work.
Just this month, Christopher Pyne was happy to see Ezy-Fit Hydraulics miss out to a multinational firm on a $12 million Collins Class submarine contract. Today’s plan does nothing to stop work like this keep going offshore.
Nor does this plan do anything to maintain manufacturing capabilities in Victoria or Newcastle, where more than 1000 jobs have been lost over the last 3-4 years.
Malcolm Turnbull and Christopher Pyne need to look Australian shipbuilding workers in the eye and explain why they continue to preference foreign workers over Australian workers.
The government has been talking about this plan since 2015. It’s clear this announcement is all about Malcolm Turnbull’s job, and nothing to do with protecting the jobs of local shipbuilders.