Abbott Should Rein In Robb Over Chevron Misinformation

The Maritime Union of Australia has called on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to rein in his Trade Minister over inaccurate claims made about the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and Chevron’s Gorgon LNG project.

Travelling with the Prime Minister in the United States, Andrew Robb accused the union of “disrupting the construction of projects and making it harder for global companies to commit to future ones.”

MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin said Mr Robb was misleading the global investment community and talking down the national economy.

“Research undertaken by BIS Shrapnel and the University of Sydney have both concluded that management problems, rather than the wages and conditions of workers, are the key driver of cost blowouts and delays on Gorgon” Mr Crumlin said.

“In fact, BIS Shrapnel concluded that maritime wages make up less than one per cent of building projects like Gorgon.

“In addition, the reality is MUA workers at the Australian Marine Complex turn around supply barges far quicker than they are turned around on Barrow Island.

“Tony Abbott realizes the importance of dealing directly with energy companies by moving to open a Consulate-General in Houston, Texas, in the next 12 months.

“But instead of working constructively with all parties, Mr Robb insists on playing political games to try to impress his mates at home.”

Mr Crumlin, who asked questions from the floor to Chevron CEO John Watson at last month’s Chevron shareholder meeting in Midland, Texas, said Mr Robb was out of step with Chevron management.

“At a recent meeting if shareholders, Chevron CEO John Watson said he had no intention of blaming unions for problems on Gorgon and had every intention of continuing to work with organised labour to deliver Chevron projects in Australia,” he said.

“The MUA is very keen to continue to work with Chevron to deliver projects and create jobs in Australia and we call on the Prime Minister to call his Minister into line and stop inflaming the relationship between Chevron and the workers who build its projects.”

The video can be viewed online at http://www.youtube.com/muawabranch.

The BIS Shrapnel and University of Sydney reports can be downloaded from http://www.nationalinterest.com.au