BAE Systems, one of the country's largest defence contractors, is warning of 1,000 job losses at its Melbourne shipyard unless the government funds new projects.
In April last year, BAE made 450 staff redundant after losing a maintenance contract to competitor Transfield. The company employs around 88,000 people worldwide and around 5,000 of them are in Australia.
Under current defence planning, BAE's work on existing navy projects will wind down from 2015 and new projects do not start until 2018. This dearth of work is referred to the "valley of death".
As reported in The Australian Financial Review, BAE Systems Australia chief executive David Allott has ratcheted up industry pressure for Defence Minister David Johnston to announce new projects to fill the “valley of death’’.
Allott said BAE’s Williamstown shipyard in Melbourne was under threat and if new work was not provided “we will have to start laying people off again at the end of this quarter and close the shipyard at the end of 2015’.
According to the ABC, ACIL Allen Consulting forecasts a complete collapse in shipbuilding would cost up to $2.3 billion a year and as many as 15,000 direct and indirect jobs.