Shipbuilding “Valley of Death” a worry for Newcastle, inquiry hears

A
senate inquiry into shipbuilding had hearings at Newcastle yesterday, with
fears about the industry’s future and the effect of this on the local economy.

Shipbuilding
company Forgacs has laid off 220 in recent months. The Newcastle Herald reports that Forgacs’ CEO Lindsay Stratton to the inquiry a further 660 jobs would end
as the Air Warfare Destroyer project wound down.

Forgacs,
which employs 910, said it was able to take on more work. Stratton urged the
federal government to do more to counter the “valley of death” approaching the
industry.

‘‘With no major
navel defence contracts in the pipeline Forgacs capability in the form of our
investment in the facility…and most importantly our highly skilled
workforce…will regrettably disappear,’’ Stratton told The
Newcastle Herald
.

Chair
of the committee, Labor senator Sam Dastyari, said these jobs were at risk as defence
work was sent overseas.

“They are all
in risk and what worries me is that these are high skilled, well paying, good
jobs that people are able to build a life on and they’re going to be sent offshore,” the ABC quotes him as saying.

Local
boilermaker Ben Horan said the uncertainty was troubling for local workers.

“Let’s face it, the way the rest
of these industries are going I’m probably going to have to move from Newcastle
– that’s just the long and short of it,” he said.

“And we’ve even got a few
‘fly-in fly-out’ jobs that are starting to wind down, and it’s not going to be
easy for me to just walk into another industry around Newcastle.

Leave a Reply