The government has quietly signed a contract to build new navy supply ships in Spain, in a deal with $130 million worth of Australian content but not one job for an Australian shipyard worker.
The decision comes as further workers at the ASC shipyard in Adelaide face being laid off as work on air warfare destroyers winds up.
South Australian independent senator Nick Xenophon, describing the move as shameful, said while the navy would get its new ships early, it would be at the expense of Australian jobs, with not one local shipyard worker employed.
“It is shameful that the government hasn’t been prepared to do the right thing by Australian industry,” he told reporters in Canberra.
Shadow defence minister Stephen Conroy said the government had “offshored” 3,000 jobs to Spain while 640 were lost in Adelaide.
“They have consciously decided not to allow Australians to have a crack at this and they stand condemned,” Senator Conroy said.
Under the deal, shipbuilder Navantia will construct two 19,500-tonne Cantabria-class oil tanker and supply ships to replace existing supply ship HMAS Success and oil tanker HMAS Sirius, at a cost of $646 million.