The Turnbull Governments decision to spend $25 million to establish the Australian Maritime Technical College in South Australia is nothing more than a politically motivated attempt to secure Government seats.


This is a desperate move from a desperate Government which has finally realised that they’ve failed on skills and jobs.


This is a blatant example of pork barrelling to save the Government’s South Australian Seats and Minister Christopher Pyne.


At the last election Malcolm Turnbull spent almost $2 million to keep bottoms in seats in the federal Parliament, but it did not work in Tasmania with a loss in Bass, Braddon and Lyons.


This is a duplication of the internationally renowned Australian Maritime College (AMC) in Launceston which has always had bipartisan support.


As Mark Baker of the Tasmanian Examiner eloquently put it – ‘the Defence Industry Minister, Christopher Pyne is effectively spending $25 million of your money on the letter T’.


This is a slap in the face to Australia’s Maritime Institute which has had tens of thousands of dollars put into it to develop its capacity to deliver world-leading research and training.


The AMC will now be forced to compete for international students, teaching jobs and funding.


I’ve been involved with the AMC since I worked for the Bacon State Labor Government and this is a move that will undermine Tasmania’s competitive advantage and ambition to do more in the defence space.


Last month the Tasmanian Liberals Senators stood with Labor to push for more investment in defence spending for Tasmania. Today they are nowhere to be seen, because they are too weak to stand up to Malcolm Turnbull and demand support for local Tasmanian jobs.  


I’m calling on the Tasmanian Liberals to stand up for local jobs and to stand up for the northern Tasmanian economy which relies on international students studying in northern Tasmania at the AMC.