As the state’s biggest industrial hub, Newcastle’s manufacturing workers will be hit the hardest by the Berejiklian Liberal Government’s callous decision to source new ferries from China and Indonesia instead of New South Wales as she promised just weeks ago.
In August, during a taxpayer-funded trip to London, Premier Berejiklian boasted of her ambition to make NSW the manufacturing capital of Australia:
- “I want NSW to be the manufacturing capital of Australia and that's why I am working hard to get these deals done because for decades we have been locked out of manufacturing and it is our time.” Gladys Berejiklian
But leaked emails obtained by Labor have this week uncovered it was yet another lie from a Liberal Premier who is out of touch with regional NSW.
Since 2011, the NSW Liberal-National Government has awarded contracts worth billions of dollars to overseas manufacturers. It has purchased:
- Buses from Malaysia;
- Trains from South Korea and China;
- Metro trains from India; and
- Light rail trams from France and Spain
NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay has slammed the Liberals’ offshore procurement policy as a massive betrayal to thousands of local workers and specialist maritime supply chain businesses.
“As a leader from the Hunter, I have always recognised the importance of industries such as manufacturing to our state’s economy.”
“Technology is rapidly changing in places like Newcastle but we must fight to safeguard jobs where we can in this age of disruption, not send them overseas.”
“Labor will have a policy that will protect government work from going offshore, unlike the Liberals who do their best to ensure that the work goes overseas,” she said.”
Labor’s Deputy Leader and Shadow Minister for Rural and Regional jobs Yasmin Catley said she was devastated for the Hunter and Mid-North Coast, where the offshore ferry decision will have the biggest impact.
“This is a disgrace, these workers should be first in line for big taxpayer-funded procurement projects,” she said.
Meanwhile, Labor’s Member for Newcastle Tim Crakanthorp said the Hunter’s manufacturing industry couldn’t handle another blow.
“Under Labor, Newcastle was a ship-building capital. But thanks to the Liberals, the industry is in disrepair.”
“We’ve already lost our shipbuilding TAFE courses, now they’re targeting what jobs are left.”
In Newcastle today, Ms McKay also committed to a new work agenda for a diversifying Hunter region while speaking at the Newcastle Branch of the Industrial Relations Society of NSW.
Ms McKay said: “While Labor’s values of inclusion and fairness and commitment to the dignity of workers never wavers, we must ensure we stay relevant to a changing society. This means addressing casualisation, wage insecurity and identifying the threats and opportunities of the gig economy.”
“Labor under my leadership will always place the needs of workers and their families first.”