The federal government is poised to cut 70 jobs from the HMAS Albatross base according to regional communities Shadow Minister Stephen Jones and Labor Gilmore candidate Fiona Phillips.
They claim there are plans for the Nowra jobs to be privatised, and carried out in Canberra.
“For the last 12 months the government has been telling anyone who will listen they’re committed to decentralising jobs out of Canberra into regional areas,” Mr Jones said.
“And yet we learn today that 70 jobs are slated to be removed from the Albatross base in Nowra back to Canberra.
“It’s jobs here, in places of high unemployment, like Nowra, that matter.”
They have grave concerns about the impact on the local economy – incomes of more than $100,000 that won’t be spent at local shops and businesses.
“Any cut in jobs to our local area has horrific consequences,” Mrs Phillips said.
The proposed cuts would affect civilian and serving defence personnel at the navy aviation systems program office, that has a workforce of 143 staff.
Its primary purpose is to sustain the existing helicopter fleet, and bring in new projects.
The job cuts were recommended from the government’s first principles review in 2014, carried out to ensure that defence is fit for purpose and is able to operate with the minimum resources necessary.
Mr Jones and Mrs Phillips called on Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis and decentralisation minister Fiona Nash to intervene and prevent the job losses.
“It’s up to the Member for Gilmore, does she know about this?” Mrs Phillips said.
“How long has she known about this? Why hasn’t she stopped this?”