STATEMENT: BAE WILLIAMSTOWN

Media Release – Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Yesterday evening I was advised by the Chief Executive of BAE Systems Australia, Mr Glynn Phillips, that BAE intends to announce further reductions of their Williamstown workforce.

The Government is disappointed by this decision taken by BAE but has no control over the commercial decisions of companies such as BAE.

The Government also accepts BAE’s position that these reductions are not a result of, or influenced by, recent shipbuilding announcements made by the Government.

In a statement earlier this week, BAE welcomed the announcement of a continuous build plan for Navy’s surface fleet.  The statement said, “Mr Abbott is the first Prime Minister to take the strategic step of a long-term commitment to naval platforms. As one of Australia’s leading naval shipbuilders, BAE Systems has advocated a continuous build strategy for many years because it leads to the retention of a highly skilled workforce that provides certainty of employment and delivers higher levels of productivity.”

The Government was disappointed that BAE Williamstown didn’t tender for the Pacific Patrol Boats, despite previously announcing that they would.  Had BAE successfully bid for this tender, it would have meant greater certainty for BAE’s workers.

The Government encourages BAE to tender for future naval shipbuilding work in the interests of its workers and the national security interests of our nation. The Government is committed to working with industry to produce the very best surface warships for the Navy.

The continuous naval shipbuilding strategy, announced last Tuesday, will transform Australia’s naval shipbuilding industry and put an end to the boom-bust cycle that has afflicted the industry, leading to the current shipbuilding ‘valley of death’, bequeathed by the previous Labor government.  This is a one-off opportunity for industry to show it can lift productivity to world best practice.