Nationals in push to help Harwood firm
THE National Party converged on Harwood Marine yesterday to discuss opportunities for the boat-building firm to do contract work for the Australian Defence Force.
Opposition defence spokesman Senator David Johnston, Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker and Nationals candidate for Page Kevin Hogan toured the facility.
Ross Roberts, managing director of Harwood Marine, said the business was contacted by the National Party and asked if it would like a visit.
He said Harwood Marine was one of the biggest employers in the lower Clarence, with more than 50 staff.
He said the business had employed 43 apprentices and 10 trainees since 2006, but the biggest problem was the boom-and-bust nature of the industry.
Senator Johnston said Defence contracts had been cut in recent years.
Page MP Janelle Saffin last month announced a Marine Precinct Workforce Development project to boost the workforce by upskilling up to 10 local casual workers with experience in the industry.
"This is what the industry has asked for," she said.
"This is stage one of my economic development strategy for the Clarence Valley and my aim is to build on this across other major industries."