Future still uncertain at BAE Williamstown, despite destroyer contracts

WORKERS at the Williamstown shipyards have welcomed news of more work but warned the future of more than 1000 jobs remains unclear.
BAE Williamstown last week learned it had secured contracts to produce an additional three blocks for the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) project.
The announcement meant the Willamstown shipbuilder at least temporarily retains its AWD workforce which was under threat after the Federal Government excluded local yards from a major new contract earlier this year.

Worker Leon White said the three blocks were moved to Williamstown from over-worked Adelaide shipyards.
“A lot of it’s already done. We have just got to clean it up and put it together so it’s not a heap of work but it’s better than nothing,’’ he said.
BAE Systems maritime director Bill Saltzer said while the news was good, the shipyard still needed more work.
“Without more work for the yard, we will need to review our level of resources in the new year,’’ he said.
“The announcement of three additional blocks for the AWD program does not secure full employment in Williamstown but it does mean that we will have continuing block construction work on that program into the first quarter of 2016.’’

The State Government has lobbied the Commonwealth to secure ongoing naval work at the Williamstown site to ensure Victoria’s skilled shipbuilding workforce is not lost.
Manufacturing Minister David Hodgett said the decision by the AWD Alliance to reallocate three additional blocks to the Williamstown Shipyard was a great vote of confidence in Victoria’s shipbuilding capabilities.

“Victoria is the natural home for Australia’s naval surface shipbuilding industry and the Federal Government should ensure an ongoing pipeline of works to keep our skilled shipbuilding workforce based in Williamstown,” Mr Hodgett said.
He said the State Government would continue to advocate on behalf of the Williamstown workforce.
Mr Hodgett said BAE Williamstown had the capability to do more work on the AWD project, be involved in elements of the replacement replenishment ship project, design and build the steel hulled Pacific patrol boats and design and build Australia’s fu


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