Chesters Demands Answers over Thales Production Shutdown

Federal Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters is demanding answers from the Federal Liberal Government over the mismanagement of the Hawkei contract at Thales in Bendigo.

More than 150 staff at the defence manufacturer have been told they could be stood down without pay for the whole month of April due to an issue with engine supply.

“It’s just outrageous. The Hawkei contract is a $1.6billion Federal Government contract, how on earth did the Government let it be mismanaged in this way?” 

“This is an alarming development. Whilst some workers have long service and annual leave entitlement they can use during this period, some of the newer workers who have been engaged to work on the Hawkei project do not,” Chesters said.

“These workers have families. They have bills to pay and food to put on the table. What would you do if you were told you would be paid for a whole month?”

It’s understood work cannot continue at the facility because of a design fault with the engines, causing a lack of supply from the Australian based manufacturer, Steyr.

“What is the Government going to do to keep our local workers in jobs? They should be working to prevent any forced stand downs without pay.”

“Defence manufacturing in Bendigo certainly has a proud history and, we hope, a promising and successful future,” Chesters said.

"Bendigo Thales, their workforce and the Bendigo community deserve answers. This decision is a shocker and I will do what I can to hold the Liberal Government to account,” said Ms Chesters.