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For more information contact Jeremy Roberts on 0433 620 850 or Nick Xenophon on 0411 626 677
SHIP HAPPENS? Independent Senator for South Australia, Nick Xenophon, has called on the Government to reverse its “outrageous” decision to exclude Australian industry from tendering for a $2 billion navy supply ship contract, following a damning Senate inquiry report released today. Senator Xenophon said its 6 June decision on the supply ships tender risked the loss of an estimated 6000 direct jobs and many more indirect jobs in a ‘Valley of Death’ for the industry. “All the signs are that this Government just doesn’t get it. Excluding local firms from the supply ships tender is outrageous and must be reversed. ” Nick said. Senator Xenophon’s call was contained in his Additional Comments to the majority report of the Senate Economics Legislation and References Committee, which also called for the limited tender decision to be reversed. Both Senator Xenophon and the Majority Report called for the release of the secret Winter Report, which apparently formed the basis for the Givernment’s decision. The Senate voted twice in July to force the Defence Minister to table it, but it has yet to be released. The report comes amid news today that a delegation of Japanese submarine experts had toured the ASC site in Port Adelaide just weeks after a Government discussion paper on defence openly touted the notion of building Australia’s Future Submarine fleet in Japan. “In his trip to Adelaide this week the Prime Minister pointedly did not confirm the coalition’s pre-election commitment to build the Future Submarines in Adelaide,” Nick said. “The Government must turn this ship around and start demonstrating leadership in defence industry policy - without it we will see massive and permanent job losses in skilled manufacturing.” “It’s also a body blow for Australia’s long term strategic interests,” Nick said.