THE Department of Defence has confirmed that a number of jobs will be cut from HMAS Albatross in the coming months.
The job losses are expected to centre on the Naval Aviation Systems Program Office (NASPO), which is responsible for logistics like spares and repairs and contract work on the navy’s fleet of helicopters.
The department said the NASPO office would be restructured over the next five years to manage the withdrawal and disposal of the current helicopters and pick up the logistic support responsibilities for the future ones.
“It is part of our planned transition of navy’s Fleet Air Arm,” the spokesperson said.
“The restructure will ultimately reduce the number of Australian Public Service positions at NASPO by 48.
“The staff have been proactively involved in the forward planning of the restructure and have been continuously consulted.
“The navy’s Fleet Air Arm is entering a carefully planned period of transition, replacing every helicopter it operates across the rest of this decade.
“The Sea King was retired from service in December 2011 and is being replaced by the MRH90, the S-70B-2 Seahawk Classic will be replaced by the new MH-60R Seahawk Romeo by 2018 and a new light twin-engine training helicopter will replace the Squirrel in a similar timeframe.”
The department said the NASPO office will continue to operate from Nowra with an ongoing workforce of over 140.
“NASPO will remain appropriately sized into the future to support the Fleet Air Arm’s new helicopter platforms,” the spokesperson said.
“These new platforms will introduce more commercially orientated support models, generating their own employment opportunities in the civil sector and jobs at the Albatross Aviation Technology Park.”
CPSU acting deputy secretary Rebecca Fawcett said the union would support its members at the base.
“The CPSU never likes to see job losses, particularly in a regional area like Nowra,” she said.
“We know job opportunities are limited in the Shoalhaven region and it’s important to us that workers have secure jobs in regional areas.
“We have been working hard to make sure our members at HMAS Albatross have a voice in this process and making sure they are being provided with all the necessary support in what can be a very stressful process.”