Mr Johnston’s spokesman, while not divulging definite details, did say the Government was committed to rebuilding a Defence force that is properly resourced, equipped and managed.
‘Australians can be confident that the Coalition Government will invest in the future security of our country,’ he said.
Mr Johnston frustrated WA shipbuilding workers by failing to attend a gathering in Henderson recently where it was hoped he would address the Government’s position on naval shipbuilding.
Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) assistant national secretary Glenn Thompson said Mr Johnston had ignored a letter inviting him to the event.
‘(The) coalition Government does see military ship-building as a strategically important industry,’ he said.
The AMWU says existing work will conclude in 2015, with state secretary Steve McCartney predicting more than 80 Henderson jobs would be lost if the Government does not commit to local naval shipbuilding in the May budget.
‘Without this commitment the additional risk is that the shipbuilding industry will die off and that Australia will be deskilled and forced to import its naval vessels from offshore,’ he said.
‘This would be a huge strategic mistake and not in Australia’s national interest.’