The Australian shipbuilding Federation of unions secured a commitment from government for the domestic construction of future naval assets.
The ETU, represented by National Industry Coordinator Matt Murphy, travelled to Canberra in February with AMWU Assistant National Secretary Glenn Thompson and AWU Assistant National Secretary Stephen Crawford to advocate for Australian naval shipbuilding jobs.
The delegation met with many ministers, including Deputy PM & Minister for Defence Richard Marles MP, and Minister for Defence Industry & Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Pat Conroy MP.
The unions form part of the Australian Shipbuilding Federation of Unions, and were seeking commitments from the Commonwealth for the future construction of naval vessels and supporting maintenance infrastructure in Australia.
The Shipbuilding Federation wanted to secure these commitments prior to the AUKUS Taskforce report due in March and the Government’s response to the Defence Strategic Review due in April.
The delegation also presented to around 50 members of the Parliamentary Friends of Manufacturing for an hour on the Wednesday evening and took questions from Members, Senators and advisors after the presentation.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence committed to domestic construction of future naval assets during the meeting and reinforced in a later statement to the House of Representatives: “We are a government which is committed to seeing Australia be a country which makes things. We are a government which is committed to seeing our key defence assets be built in this country to drive Australian industry and to keep Australians safe.”
However,while the ETU welcomes the commitment to domestic naval shipbuilding, the government has not released any details yet around what the next (pre-AUKUS) class of vessel may be, or any information about the design, construction or timing of the AUKUS submarines.
The AUKUS submarines will be powered by nuclear technology, which betrays Australia’s non-nuclear policy and opens doors to a dangerous and unnecessary domestic nuclear power industry, weapons proliferation and regional arms race.
The ETU is strongly against the deployment of nuclear power in Australia because of the risks associated with the mining and extraction of uranium, the huge build costs, the terrible and deadly consequences to environmental and human health when incidents occur and its potential to take us down the path of devastating weaponry.