Australian jobs continue to hang in the balance as industry waits for a decision to be made by the Abbott Government on vital future Naval shipbuilding such as the Future Submarine Project.
Reports today have several experts agreeing that a Submarine Construction Authority (SCA) should take over and govern this important project for Australia.
Should an SCA be assigned this task, it would be responsible for defining the project, overseeing it, ensuring a suitable design is selected and comparing and managing a competitive tender process.
The suggestion for this governing body was reportedly made in the co-authored Winter/White Review, a report kept secret by the Abbott Government despite its promise to release it.
The review was first commissioned in December 2013 and received by the Government in June 2014.
Reports in The Australian in November last year from a senior shipbuilder said that the Government needed to act on the recommendations;
“They have totally ignored the Winter Report, which they commissioned to help get them out of this mess.”
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Expert after expert has told the Senate that there is enough time to hold a proper tender process, in a timeframe that ensures no capability gap.
Dr John White has rightly said that Australia’s Future Submarine Project is “The most important Australian Defence project for this century.”
Further to the uncertainty surrounding our Future Submarines, reports in yesterday’s Adelaide Advertiser also raised concerns that Australia’s Future Frigate project could be sent overseas, further hurting our shipbuilding industry and skilled workers.
The Abbott Government is yet to provide a viable solution to sustain Australia’s shipbuilding industry, or to save jobs in South Australia instead of destroying them.
Before the election, the former Defence Minister David Johnston stood outside ASC in Adelaide and said:
"We will deliver those submarines from right here at ASC in South Australia. The Coalition today is committed to building 12 new submarines here in Adelaide."
David Johnston Press Conference – 8 May 2013
The Abbott Government’s lack of progress is hurting Australian jobs and industry, with up to 1400 shipbuilding jobs to be lost in Victoria and New South Wales over the next 12 months.
The new Defence Minister, Kevin Andrews needs to take immediate steps to secure the future of Australia's strategically vital shipbuilding industry and the jobs of thousands of workers.