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Navy ship building - Minister confirms rejection of election policy.

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Senator Mark Bishop Shadow Minister for Defence Industry, Procurement and Personnel Senator for Western Australia

MEDIA RELEASE 16 August 2005

Navy Ship Building - Minister Confirms Rejection of Election Policy The Howard Government today, through the Minister for Defence Senator Hill, confirmed that it has reneged on its 2004 election promise that it would build the two new amphibious ships for the RAN in Australia.

On 5 October 2004 the Liberal Party manifesto on Defence, issued by Minister Hill said:

"The Coalition will commit to maximise opportunities for Australian industry involvement in major defence projects. Importantly both the $4.5 billion Air Warfare Destroyers and the $1.5 - $2 billion Amphibious Ships will be built in Australia by Australian workers."

At Senate Question Time today the Minister said that iron clad guarantee was now just a 'preference'.

A preference is not a guarantee.

In fact it's an expression of no confidence in Australian industry and our workers.

If the Howard Government is at all interested in repairing the damage caused by the neglect of Australia's defence industries and the ship building workforce, it would honour its election commitment.

This clearly shows the Government is not the least bit committed to the restoration of a skilled workforce, or to the rebirth of a dynamic ship building industry.

Industry and workers should smell a rat. This has been standard Howard Government modus operandi for nine long years.

The Government must make the same commitment to the amphibious ships as it made to the air warfare destroyers.

To do otherwise is a complete contradiction.

Media Details: Senator Mark Bishop 0419 959 892 or Peter Reece 0414 677 441 Parliament House (02) 6277 3101