Aus job dry up, Contracts sent offshore

Mr Heitman workforce has shrunk from 200 to 70. Where 18 apprentices once learnt their trade, there are now two.

When people such as Mr Heitman hear about contracts going offshore — especially government projects paid for by their taxes — the struggle seems more hopeless.
They point to troubled projects sourced from overseas — footbridges in Mandurah, Busselton and now Burswood.

They decry the Government’s “short-sighted” attitude that prioritises price over quality and sends WA money offshore.
They believe even when contracts are given to local companies, the work is often outsourced.

“They expect us to build to Australian standards but anything coming in from overseas doesn’t have to be … I just can’t work it out. I actually call us ‘dumb Aussies’.”

Mr Heitman is a boilermaker of 28 years and the owner of Alltype Engineering in Naval Base.
Despite his best efforts and investment in automation, he says he has been losing money for the past two years

It is an alarmingly common story in the metal workshops of Naval Base and Kwinana Beach.
If South Australia’s shipbuilding industry has crossed its “valley of death”, then Perth’s fabricators are on the valley floor.

The once bustling roads are dotted with rusty signs advertising workshops for sale or lease.
There are a handful of vehicles in carparks built for dozens.

If the owners are asked how the area has changed, they simply look through their windows and run through the closures.

Premier Colin Barnett said in 2011 that ventures such as the Gorgon gas project would keep WA’s workshops full for years.
Cockburn MLA Fran Logan raised those comments in State Parliament last week, accusing Mr Barnett of dealing blow after blow to the industry by sending work offshore.

“The Premier told the fabricators down in the Kwinana strip that the workshops would be full,” Mr Logan said.

“Does he remember that? He told them that, and they went out and invested in automation and robotics. What were they left with? Nothing. Those workshops are now closed.”

Allgo Engineering owner Phillip Vergone believes the resources boom was the worst thing to happen to his business because of what has happened in the two years since.

He reckons he is in a better place than some, breaking even at 100 per cent volume.

In Kwinana Beach, Rollwell Engineering boss Glenn Hoskins sings the praises of Donald Trump because of how vocal he has been about protecting US manufacturers. He cannot understand why local content laws are not strengthened.

“People are on the dole because they haven’t got a job,” Mr Hoskins said. “It’s actually costing money. They can’t see that and I don’t know why.

“They expect us to build to Australian standards but anything coming in from overseas doesn’t have to be … I just can’t work it out. I actually call us ‘dumb Aussies’.”

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Julian King says:

    This is the so called level playing field of globalisation and free trade. Impossible to compete against slave labour, zero environmental protection, and zero human rights. Only the transnationals win.


  2. Diane Wilson says:

    this country’s politicians are determined to destroy the country so the chinese can just walk in and take it over. Are they really so stupid that they think they will be raking in the millions they are getting now from the chinese when the country is in their hands. the chinese certainly aren’t stupid and they know that they cannot trust people who are traitors to their own country. so instead of their millions these greedy unprincipled politicians will be the first to find themselves in front of a firing squad


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