The State Government has reached an accord with three key unions to ensure industrial action does not obstruct a local build of future submarines in Adelaide.
Today’s news follows yesterday’s appointment of Senator Marise Payne as Australia’s new Minister for Defence and provides further incentive for the Commonwealth to confirm a local build of 12 submarines in Adelaide.
The three key unions at the Osborne site, the AWU, AMWU and CEPU, will ensure matters of demarcation and other forms of industrial dispute, should they occur, are resolved in a manner which makes project delivery the number one focus – as it has on both sites for almost 30 years.
Premier Jay Weatherill said the move demonstrates the State Government and unions stand ready to work constructively with the new Minister for Defence if a local ship-build is confirmed by the Federal Government.
“We welcome the appointment of Minister Payne to the Defence portfolio and look forward to showing her South Australia’s superior shipbuilding capabilities at ASC,” Mr Weatherill said.
“This is clearly the most important decision facing the Federal Government in South Australia and we want to ensure that this State is seen as an attractive place to invest for all of the overseas bidders.
“That is why we are working with the unions so that industrial action would be minimised in the delivery of the project.
“A similar agreement was successfully reached by former Governor Kevin Scarce regarding the Air Warfare Destroyer Project and this has been successful in ensuring the workforce is well supported to deliver the project without the need for industrial action.”
The Premier has today written to the Minister for Defence outlining the State Government’s position and offering to work constructively with the Federal Government.
Minister for Defence Industries Martin Hamilton-Smith said the Federal Government’s Defence White Paper must defend Australian jobs and support a sustainable industry.
“To achieve a continuous naval shipbuilding industry in Australia, a hybrid or overseas submarines build must be ruled out,” Mr Hamilton-Smith said.
“Defence strategists have argued successfully that our Defence requires 12 submarines. Only 12 will provide Australian naval shipbuilding industry with a continuous build.
“The number of surface ships and submarines built in Australia must be sufficient to ensure a continuous build of both.
“A government commitment to only building 8 submarines will negate the opportunity to develop a continuous build program that a commitment to 12 submarines would provide.
“The State Government, local industry and workers are of one mind; we will protect Australia, we will build a strong defence industry and we will stand by the workers in our shipyards.”