The Shadow Assistant Minister for Defence, David Feeney and the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Gai Brodtmann, have concluded a tour of Defence industries in South Australia.
South Australia, which proudly brands itself as Australia’s “Defence State”, has heavily invested in defence industry, and now has some 25 per cent of the nation’s defence work.
South Australia has developed a world-class maritime industrial precinct. The infrastructure and critical mass of warship design, systems integration and construction skills provide the perfect foundation for a long-term sustainable maritime sector.
The Abbott Government has failed to address the urgent need for Australia’s shipbuilding industry to have work to sustain our shipyards.
The Abbott Government has abandoned its pre-election promise to build a fourth Air Warfare Destroyer, and has ignored the plan of the former Labor Government to build two Navy logistics ships in South Australia to replace HMAS Sirius and HMAS Success.
In recent days, the Abbott Government has even suggested that Australia’s Future Submarine may not be built in Australia, dumping its pre-election pledge to build them in Adelaide.
The inaction of the last eight months means that South Australia’s iconic defence shipbuilding and manufacturing industry is now withering away.
“The Abbott Government must commit to sustaining Australia’s ship and submarine building industry. We have now entered the valley of death, and the loss of thousands of skilled workers is imminent”, said David Feeney.
“We face the very real threat of being an island nation that can’t build ships”, said David Feeney.
“The twisted priorities of the Abbott Government mean that Australia’s shipyards may soon go the way of our automotive industry, with thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of investment lost”, said David Feeney.
Successive Governments have invested billions to consolidate and maintain the nation’s sovereign ship building capability.
“We have paid a heavy premium to establish a world-class ship-building industry in Australia. Now our ship building industry needs security and consistency. The Abbott Government’s failure to provide this has plunged the industry into doubt and uncertainty”, said Gai Brodtmann.
“The collapse of Australia’s shipyards will have very serious consequences for the nation’s economy. At risk is a highly skilled and capable workforce and the nation’s indigenous ship-building capability”.
The tour included visits to Ultra Electronics, ASC, Defence Science and Technology Organisation, BAE Systems, Saab Australia and Lockheed Martin.