The Maritime Union of Australia has today met with the visiting Norwegian Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg, and the President of the Norwegian Seafarers' Union, Jacqueline Smith, to discuss the state of world shipping and Australia's proposed shipping reform package.
"Australia and Norway both have a long history of engagement in the shipping sector, with many seafarers of both nationalities serving together at sea," MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin said.
"We are delighted to welcome the Norwegian Prime Minister and representatives from the Norwegian Seafarers' Union to Australia and look forward to exchanging important information around the future of shipping."
Australia and Norway have continued their strong shipping relationship over a long period and many Norwegian seafarers have settled in Australia.
The respected Australian maritime trade union leader Tas (Tasnor) Bull, who was Secretary of the Waterside Workers' Federation from 1984 to 1992 was named after 'Tasmania' and 'Norway' - the places of his parents' births.
MUA Deputy National Secretary Mick Doleman today addressed a Maritime Conference in Perth, where he spoke of the close relationship between the two countries, and the lessons Australia can learn from the Norwegian shipping experience.
"Both Australia and Norway have strong maritime unions, which allows for strong shipping industries," Mr Doleman said.
"Australia aspires to a stronger international and merchant fleet and looks to Norway as a leading shipping nation.
"On the domestic front, the MUA is very pleased to be working constructively with the Gillard Labor Government to achieve significant shipping reform and to strengthen the Australian fleet.
"Strong maritime unions mean that seafarers have their rights protected around the globe.
"Seafaring is a truly international profession, and by working with other nations we can ensure that there are no borders to safe workplaces and fair conditions.
"Shipping reform doesn't just mean more jobs for Australians but also regional opportunities building employment, skills and training in places such as Timor Leste, Tonga, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea."