Ship industry help ‘too little, too late’

Aiden BoyhamSound Telegraph
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A defence funding announcement from the State Government under which six businesses in Henderson and Naval Base would receive more than $125,000 between them has been labelled “too little, too late” by the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union.

The grants, aimed at improving the competitiveness of businesses vying for part of the Federal Government’s $89 billion naval shipbuilding and maintenance program, came under fire from AMWU’s Steve McCartney.

Commerce Minister Michael Mischin said the investment would go towards software and equipment upgrades, marketing and business plans.

“The Australian Government’s major investment in naval build programs offers WA businesses specialising in naval defence shipbuilding, cyber-security and drone technology an opportunity to become part of a significant procurement supply chain,” he said.

“The additional investment will enable (small-medium sized enterprises) to engage with the market, undertake important planning and raise their profile, ultimately leading to defence contract opportunities.” Mr McCartney criticised the funding announcement and said the State Government had been “missing in action” for the past eight years when it came to the local shipbuilding industry.

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“The reality is that the Barnett Government has no plan for manufacturing jobs in WA, and as a result hundreds of jobs have been slashed in the shipbuilding and defence procurement sector here in WA over the last five years,” he said. Under the defence funding announcement, IKAD Engineering, Legeneering Australia, Watmarine Engineering and WOMA Australia are set to receive $25,000 each.

Allgo Engineering and Wiltrading STACE will also receive $10,553 and $18,379 respectively.

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