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Workforce reduction at Williamstown shipyard

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BAE Systems has today announced a further reduction in the workforce at its Williamstown shipyard.

The loss of an additional 125 positions will take effect during September / October and is the result of a continuing decline in work as existing projects near completion.

Since October 2014, following delivery of the first Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ship HMAS Canberra, the shipbuilding workforce at the Williamstown shipyard has been reduced by close to 500 people. Today's announcement brings the total reductions to approximately 600.

Current naval shipbuilding projects at Williamstown include the second LHD ship NUSHIP Adelaide and hull modules (blocks) for the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) Program.

NUSHIP Adelaide, successfully completed its first set of sea trials in early July. The warship will embark on its second and final period of sea trials later this month in preparation for delivery later this year. BAE Systems is continuing to build blocks for the AWD program and will progressively complete these between now and early 2016. At that point all naval shipbuilding activity in Victoria will be finished.

Director of Maritime, BAE Systems Australia, Bill Saltzer said: "Last week's commitment by the Prime Minister to a continuous shipbuilding plan and to building Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) starting in 2018 and Future Frigates starting in 2020 is good news for the industry. We look forward to engaging with the Federal Government so we can better understand the implications this will have for our shipbuilding operations in Australia and the contribution we can potentially make as this country’s leading naval shipbuilding prime contractor. BAE Systems has world class designs for OPVs and Frigates and our highly skilled workforce in Williamstown is unique in having experience building both of these types of vessel in Australia. All of the highly successful ANZAC Class Frigates were built in our Williamstown Shipyard, as were the Protector Class OPVs currently in service with the Royal New Zealand Navy. Today’s announcement is necessary because we are a project-based business and our employee numbers must match the needs and status of our ongoing and upcoming projects."