South Australia is owed an immediate explanation from the Abbott Government, following reports that work on the Air Warfare Destroyers is set to be taken away from ASC, potentially leading to thousands of job losses.
These reports follow recent comments by Liberal Party frontbencher Jamie Briggs that South Australia will be punished for the appointment of Martin Hamilton-Smith as Defence Industries Minister.
Mr Briggs threatened to re-direct future defence projects to other states, saying:
“Martin Hamilton-Smith certainly won’t get access that other (states) will.” [The Australian, 30 May 2014]
“Right now, there are thousands of workers at ASC in Adelaide wondering if they will still have a job at the end of the year,” said Acting Shadow Minister for Defence Gai Brodtmann.
“It is time the Abbott Government came clean on its plans for South Australia’s shipbuilding industry.
“Any decision to downsize shipbuilding in Adelaide will not only cost thousands of jobs in the short term, it will make it almost impossible for Australia’s Future Submarines to be built in Adelaide.”
South Australia’s Defence industries will contribute $2.5 billion to the State economy and employ over 38,000 people by 2020.
Member for Port Adelaide Mark Butler said, “This is yet another example of the contempt with which this government has treated South Australians.
“We only need to look at Holden to see how little Tony Abbott cares about South Australia's manufacturing industry and thousands of jobs here in the Port Adelaide electorate.
“Not satisfied with destroying our car industry, Tony Abbott now wants to sack the Government's own shipbuilders.
“Port Adelaide’s rich history as one of the nation’s earliest shipbuilding sites must not be let down by this government. “The highly-skilled men and women of the South Australian defence industry do a great job working on some of the most technically complex projects in the world. “They deserve better than to be used as pawns in a political game.
“It is time that the Prime Minister and Mr Briggs gave them the recognition and support they deserve and backed South Australia’s manufacturing industry, rather than tearing it down.”