In Industry

Victoria Minister for Manufacturing, Exports and Trade, Richard Dalla-Riva

Labor’s Betrayal Of Defence Workers In Bendigo

Victor P Taffa

The Victorian Government is deeply disappointed that Thales has been forced to announce a redundancy program at their Bendigo facility.

Unfortunately, these job losses are a direct result of a decision by the Commonwealth Government to source overseas its entire $1.9 Billion purchase of new military trucks for the Australian Defence Force.

Minister for Manufacturing, Exports and Trade, Richard Dalla-Riva said today he had warned in December that the Commonwealth’s decision would result in uncertainty for the future of the Thales workforce in Bendigo.

“As I said at the time, this was a significant missed opportunity for the Commonwealth to guarantee investment and jobs growth in the defence industries of regional Victoria.” Mr. Dalla-Riva said.

“That decision did not provide long-term certainty and continuity to this important defence manufacturer and its skilled workforce.”

“Thales Bendigo has a proven track record in designing and building the iconic Bushmaster vehicle, which has saved the lives of Australian troops and other allied soldiers in some of the world’s most hostile zones of conflict.” Mr. Dalla-Riva said.

“As a result of the Commonwealth’s decision to source overseas the Land 121 Phase 3 vehicle program, it is now uncertain whether the Bushmaster vehicle will continue to be built in Bendigo beyond the end of 2012.”

Today Labor MHR for Bendigo, Steve Gibbons, was quoted in the Bendigo Weekly saying today’s job announcements were “a consequence of Thales being overlooked for a contract” when, in December, the Commonwealth decided to award the Land 121 Phase 3 contract, to the German company Rheinmetall MAN.

Mr. Dalla-Riva noted that Mr. Gibbons’ Victorian ALP colleagues had been silent on the issue, including member for Bendigo East, Jacinta Allan.

“It is a pity that the Victorian ALP appears to have nothing to say about the federal Labor Government’s failure in this instance to support local manufacturing and local jobs.” Mr. Dalla-Riva said.

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