Thousands of Victorian defence industry jobs are at risk

Thousands of Victorian defence industry jobs are at risk if the federal government fails to place further orders for work, Premier Daniel Andrews says.

Mr Andrews says it makes no sense to send contracts offshore, to Spanish and Korean companies, to make navy vessels paid for by Australian taxpayers.

Melbourne shipbuilder BAE systems will make hundreds of workers redundant if there are no further orders from the federal government for work, he says.

‘I’ve just been briefed, very clearly, that there will be redundancies at this site, hundreds of them, in coming months, just a few months, if there is not a decision made about the two HMAS Sirius and HMAS Success,’ he told reporters on Monday.

‘We’re facing hundreds, perhaps thousands of jobs being lost in this defence sector, particularly in the shipbuilding sector, in the next few months if there’s not an order placed very, very soon.’

Mr Andrews is joining the NSW and South Australian premiers to plead to the federal government to keep shipbuilding jobs in Australia.

Last June, the Abbott government decided to proceed with a limited tender for the new navy supply ships to replace the ageing HMAS Success and HMAS Sirius – but only a company from Spain and one from South Korea could bid.

Australian firms were excluded, with then Defence Minister David Johnston’s claiming the construction of these large vessels was beyond the capabilities of Australian industry.

Last week, the federal government dismissed reports up to 1400 naval shipbuilding jobs would be lost in Victoria and NSW because of a lack of sustainable work.
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