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Worse than the GFC – AWU calls for immediate action from Prime Minister to protect critical industries

March 20, 2020

The AWU is calling on the Prime Minister and the NSW Premier to throw their full support behind Australia’s manufacturing industry, and launch a nationwide package to prevent major job losses and industry closures.

In letters to Scott Morrison and Gladys Berejiklian, the AWU says it’s vital key productive industries such as steel, aluminium, cement, glass, mining, agriculture, oil and fuel refining and gas-fired energy can keep powering Australia at a time of global supply chain uncertainty and unrest.

The AWU worked closely with state, territory and federal leaders during the Global Financial Crisis to prevent an industry-wide collapse that saved millions of jobs, but COVID-19 will require a massive co-ordinated approach on a scale never seen before.

The situation will require governments to develop and roll out major infrastructure and industry stimulus packages, create new industries as well as deploy ‘buy local’ guidelines to support under-threat businesses and keep Australians employed.

Australia’s manufacturing sector and other primary industries employ millions of Australians, with many of these jobs located in regional centres – areas that need the security of jobs and industry more than ever before.

The AWU says it’s also essential that Australia’s major manufacturing sites must be kept operating during this crisis and that any shutdowns of continuous operations could lead to those sites closing forever.

National Secretary Daniel Walton says that unless we secure the manufacturing sector, we will see deindustrialisation that will cause “enormous damage to the economy and local communities.”

Of particular concern to AWU members is the ongoing uncertainty relating to the continuous operation of major industrial production sites, which must be operated and staffed around the clock.

“It is critical that we ensure that Australia’s manufacturing sites are sufficiently secure from a demand and supply shock and that large workforces are able to safely obtain access to keep production running.”

The AWU is seeking urgent meetings with both the Prime Minster and the NSW Premier to work together to develop a national plan.

Read the full letter to Scott Morrison here

Read the full letter to Gladys Berejiklian here

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