More than 200 local shipbuilders rallied in Henderson, voting in favour of a national campaign to support local jobs.
Australian Manufacturing Workers Union assistant national secretary Glenn Thompson said he was concerned Australia might turn to buying ships from other countries and in turn hand over billions in taxpayer dollars for vessels that might not meet our defence needs.
The move would also cost thousands of local jobs.
‘The ship industry, nationally, is facing in 2015 what we are terming the valley of death,’ he said.
‘There’s a big huge white space of no work and companies will have to start laying workers off.’
Mr Thompson said he would write to every federal politician seeking a funding commitment to keep Australian ships built locally, after Defence white papers showed there was work for local workers. ‘Over the next 30 years there’s $250 billion worth of navy acquisitions to be made ” some 48 vessels, including a dozen submarines.’
‘We should be looking at building a world-class maritime engineering capacity in Australia and if we require companies to assist in that, they should relocate and have a presence here.
‘We are an island nation. It’s ludicrous that we don’t take the opportunity to build a stronger maritime program.’
MP Fran Logan backed local workers, saying WA had the engineering capacity to take on any major job.
‘The Federal Government, regardless of who is in power, must ensure our future maritime defence capability is built in Australia ” and a large share of |that should be done in Henderson,’ he said.