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Today the Victorian Government announced a $50 million investment into mRNA vaccine technology and research, so that COVID-19 vaccines using mRNA technology can be manufactured locally.

The United Workers Union welcomes this decision to address this urgent crisis regarding the loss of advanced manufacturing jobs in Victoria, as evidenced by the impending closures of pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and ExxonMobil’s manufacturing facilities in the coming year.

These site closures will result in hundreds of highly skilled advanced manufacturing workers that are going to be made redundant, and until now have had no realistic opportunity to find further work in the sector.

This announcement is a step in the right direction but further leadership and funding from the both State and Federal governments are required to rebuild Australia’s advanced manufacturing capacity.

Quotes attributable to Tim Kennedy, National Secretary United Workers Union

“United Workers Union welcomes today’s announcement by the Victorian Government as an investment in a sustainable pharmaceutical manufacturing sector.

“Right now hundreds of advanced manufacturing workers in Victoria are losing their jobs as pharmaceutical giants like GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and ExxonMobil leave Australia.

“These site closures will result in hundreds of highly skilled advanced manufacturing workers being made redundant.

“It is urgent that those workers and their skills are not lost to the sector.

“This new mRNA vaccine facility will provide a crucial opportunity for highly skilled advanced manufacturing workers to continue their contributions to vaccine research and production.

“It is vital that the hundreds of Victorian workers facing redundancy are provided opportunities for secure jobs at this new site. These workers will form the very heart of the new Victorian vaccine facility to face the challenges of the future.

“We have the skills. With the announcement of this new facility, Victoria could produce lifesaving vaccines and treatments to meet demand with our existing workers, to usher in a new era of world-leading research and production of vaccines right here in Australia.

“Preserving specialised skills and secure jobs is crucial for our economy and society to recover from the pandemic, and to build back better than before.”

United Workers Union represents pharmaceutical manufacturing workers across the country.