No Place for a Nuclear Base, Port Kembla 

The clear message to the Albanese Government from the South Coast May Day rally on Saturday, 6 May, was: Nothing will stop the workers of Wollongong from protecting their jobs and the health and safety of their community. 

Federation members from across the state were among the more than 3000 protesters who descended on Port Kembla (Dharawal country, specifically the lands of the Wodi Wodi people of the Five Islands Dreaming) for the event. 

There is alarm across the community that Port Kembla is being considered as the east coast base for nuclear submarines, as part of AUKUS, an Australia, UK and US agreement.  

A nuclear submarine facility based in Port Kembla Harbour would require the acquisition of a large part of the harbour and surrounding land. The land is currently a resource for existing manufacturing, steel, land transport and maritime industries.   

The Government’s delay in deciding the location of the base will exacerbate uncertainty over the necessary exclusion zones and access to land and waterways for the emerging renewable industries, threatening billions of dollars of investment.  

The workers of Wollongong are determined to see their plans for an estimated 8000 jobs within the renewable energy industries realised.  

The Government’s commitment to spend $368 billion dollars of public money on obsolete nuclear submarines while education, and every other area of essential public services, remains underfunded is condemned.   

In fact, the Government’s recent Budget figures indicate that they are willing to commit approximately 10 times more money per year on nuclear submarine programs than they are on public education. 

Port Kembla, in Greater Wollongong, is a nuclear free city and has been for 30 years. The Government’s proposal for nuclear attack submarines in the port will expose the community to being a nuclear target. Wollongong’s population will be potentially exposed to hundreds of kilograms of highly enriched weapons-grade uranium. 

Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos said: “Federation will continue to work with the anti-war, peace and the broader union movement to expose and oppose the threat inherent in this rise in militarism. 

“It is a deep commitment to peace that guides the NSW Teachers Federation’s opposition to militarism and belief that war should never be used to resolve international conflict. There have been too many times in history when warmongering and armaments build-up have led to international conflict, death and destruction.”