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Australia's Naval Shipbuilding Industry.

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  Australian Labor Party   National ALP

Stephen Martin - Australia's Naval Shipbuilding Industry Under A Cloud Tuesday, 03 April 2001

Australia's Naval Shipbuilding Industry Under A Cloud Stephen Martin - Shadow Minister for Defence

Media Statement - 1 April 2001

Thousands of jobs in Australia's Naval Shipbuilding Industry are in jeopardy in light of a secret report commissioned by the Government that recommends the closure of several shipyards across Australia, the Shadow Minister for Defence, Stephen Martin, revealed today.

"John Prescott was paid $116,000 to compile the confidential report last year which recommends the closure of several shipyards placing thousands of employees within the industry at risk of losing their jobs and employment security," Dr Martin said.

"In an interview today Minister Reith not only looked completely surprised, but failed to deny that the Government would not be proceeding with the recommendations in the report and would not confirm whether the Government would support the indigenous shipbuilding industry.

"The Government has also refused to publicly release the report despite it being completed late last year. The existence of the report was confirmed in an answer to a question on notice received more than a week ago.

"Internal Defence sources have informed the Opposition that the report considers the sustainability of the Australian Shipbuilding industry and the use of overseas providers for forthcoming Defence 2000 White Paper shipbuilding work.

"In light of Peter Reith's performance regarding matters maritime I think it would be better if the Prime Minister immediately ruled out this threat to the industry.

"The White Paper refers to the concerns held in the community about the decline in Australia's manufacturing capability, the deskilling of Australia's workforce, including the ADF, and about industry's capacity to support and sustain ADF deployments - the Government seems to have completely ignored these concerns.


"Any moves by the Government, secret or otherwise, to destabilise the shipbuilding industry undermines the White Paper's undertaking to support Australian industry and jobs," Dr Martin said.


Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.

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