Workers have rallied outside a Senate inquiry into naval shipbuilding over concerns they will miss out on opportunities when the next generation of vessels are built in Adelaide.
The federal government must ensure the current 500-plus workers at the city's shipyards are transferred to future projects or the industry risks a skills crisis, the Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union says.
Victorian Senator Kim Carr says the committee also intends to investigate the reasoning behind a clause in the tender document allowing overseas companies to not exclusively use local workers.
In September, Australian shipbuilder Austal told the inquiry that the defence department had warned overseas companies off dealing with both Austal and ASC.
The $35 billion future frigate program is expected to begin construction in Adelaide in 2020 and South Australia will also build the navy's next submarines and some of its offshore patrol boats.