ALP: Coalition Adrift Without Shipping Policy

In a doorstop help in Perth this morning ALP MPs - Shadow Transport Minister Anthony Albanese, and local members Josh Wilson and Madeleine King - called on the Liberal National Government to announce its intentions regarding the future of domestic shipping. Statement follows:

Labor calls upon Transport Minister Darren Chester to detail the Government's plan for the Australian shipping industry after it failed to produce a national shipping policy in the recent federal election.

Australia is an island nation which relies entirely on air and sea transport for trade and international travel. Ninety-nine per cent of Australia's traded goods move by ship. Our defence strategy relies heavily on maritime capacity.

A local shipping industry, including domestic ship building capacity, is in Australia’s economic, environmental and national security interest. This is something that all other G20 nations know and implement.

Yet during the last term of Parliament the Coalition sought to destroy the Australian maritime sector through its WorkChoices on Water legislation and failed to invest in smart infrastructure to ensure jobs are created at home.

Today we visited the Australian Marine Complex in Henderson to inspect the most technically advanced floating dock and transfer system in the world. The facility provides state of the art shipbuilding 23 kilometres south of Perth.

The AMC is a prime example of the type of facility we need to invest in to ensure we can support a thriving domestic shipping industry and provide support for crucial naval operations that extend from the west coast.

It is essential that funds set aside for infrastructure investment by the Commonwealth are allocated on the basis of evidence and where the most value will be created for taxpayer dollars driving jobs, productivity and growth.

The 2016 Budget provided funds for Defence shipbuilding infrastructure and the Commonwealth must now consider the compelling case for supporting the second stage of the Australian Marine Complex's floating dock on that basis.

Labor also supports a properly planned transition to the Outer Harbour as an alternative to the flawed Perth Freight Link project which was plucked out of thin air, with no proper planning or cost-benefit analysis.

A strong domestic ship building industry is in the interests of all Australians. Labor will continue fighting for the jobs and economic growth a thriving domestic shipping sector will deliver.