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Workers have welcomed a commitment from Federal Labor that it will work with the State Government to acquire the historic Aurizon rail workshops and revitalize and diversify the manufacturing sector in Rockhampton.
The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union has fought a long battle against the privatization and casualisation of jobs in this vital manufacturing center.
Ultimately last year, in a kick in the guts to workers in Central Queensland, Aurizon made the decision to close the historic workshops. Approximately 180 workers in Rockhampton lost their jobs, with the work replaced by third parties and contractors.
Increasing rates of casualisation and jobs losses have meant that manufacturing workers in Central Queensland have struggled to find secure jobs. The closure of the workshops was a final blow to the Rockhampton community.
The closure of the historic site, came during the same financial year that Aurizon boss Andrew Harding was paid a reported $4.08 million, including a $1.25 million cash bonus.
Today’s announcement by Federal Labor is a sign that workers in Rockhampton are finally being listened to.
State Secretary of the AMWU QLD/NT, Rohan Webb said, “Rockhampton has a long proud history of manufacturing and this announcement today is a sign that Labor has heard the concerns of local workers and is willing to support manufacturing in Central Queensland well into the future.”
“We acknowledge the work of the State Government to secure vital defence manufacturing contracts for Queensland and invest in advanced manufacturing hubs all across regional Queensland.
“We need a Federal Government that will work with all levels of Government to attract investment in rail, defence and mining manufacturing, as well as new forms of advanced manufacturing to support the renewable energy boom around Australia.”
This announcement today shows what workers can expect from a Federal Labor Government that works collaboratively with a Labor State Government.
Rohan Webb called out the Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry for her lack of action on manufacturing, “Ms Landry has sat back and watched as multinationals have sacked workers. She’s had a seat in Government but has done nothing to support workers sacked by Aurizon and only now that there is election she wants to pretend that she cares about manufacturing workers in Rockhampton.”
Mr Webb said, “The LNP dared manufacturing companies to leave Australia and they did. This election is vitally important for manufacturing workers. We need to change the rules and change the Government to secure our jobs for the future.”