The Australian Shipowners Association has joined maritime unions in the call for the Government to act now on coastal shipping reform
ASA executive director Teresa Hatch told The Australian daily today that the government should 'get a move on' and deliver its coastal policy.
The call comes as the Maritime Union and government responded to an outcry by foreign ship owners threatening to jack up freight rates now FairWork requires crew are paid Australian minimum wages on coastal trade.
See yesterday's Australian IR laws blamed for rise in cost of shipping
The Labor Government pledged to introduce tax concessions and incentives to allow reinvestment in Australian coastal shipping, but has yet to announce the long awaited policy.
Teresa Hatch told The Australian six local ships were lost last year and a further eight were imminent.
"Basically, what we are after is a levelling of the playing field," she said. "Foriegn companies overseas are paying very low tax rates, and they can employ seafarers on low rates of pay."
"The last serious investment in shipping in this country was about 20 years ago," she said. "Those ships are now at the end of their working life".
MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin told the Australian the Fair Work Act and other labour refomrs were crucual part of the government's package to revitalise Australian shipping.
Meanwhile a Filipino seafarer seeking help from the International Transport Workers' Federation Australia office agreed to speak to The Australian about widespread exploitation of foreign crew in the industry.