Bill's Media Releases


Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has spent the day in the Hunter talking to local workers and industry leaders about the future of jobs in the region.


Mr Shorten joined local MPs Pat Conroy and Sharon Claydon at the Forgacs Shipyards in Tomago, where hundreds of jobs are under threat because of the Abbott Government’s refusal to bring forward Naval Shipbuilding contracts.


“Thousands of jobs will be lost, including hundreds here in the Hunter region, if the Abbott Government doesn’t act soon and bring these defence contracts forward,” Mr Shorten said.


“Labor is committed to bridging the ‘valley of death’ by bringing forward work on two supply ships and new patrol boats, as well as consideration of an earlier start date for the future frigate program.


“I’m calling on the Prime Minister to bring these contracts forward to the May Budget, and gives these workers the certainty they deserve.


“Forgacs is one of a number of shipbuilders facing the valley of death, and they need to know the opportunity will be there to tender for this work.


“Time is running out, and local jobs are on the line. It’s time Tony Abbott showed some leadership and fought for jobs in the Hunter.”


“The failure to stand up for these workers says a lot about the twisted priorities of the Abbott Government,” Member for Charlton Pat Conroy said.


“They have a plan to bring back knights and dames, but no plan to protect jobs in our region.”


“Local businesses and industry leaders have told Bill loud and clear today that our region’s number on priority is keeping locals in work,” Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon said.


“Labor understands this, and we’ll keep standing up for local workers. Now the Prime Minister needs to stop sitting on his hands. How many more jobs will be lost before Tony Abbott does something?”


Mr Shorten also visited the Group Training Organisation NovaSkill in Broadmeadow today, where he toured the facilities and spoke with young apprentices, before leading a roundtable discussion with local manufacturing industry organisation HunterNet.