Cairns: Maritime workers rally ahead of parliamentary shipping inquiry

Maritime workers will rally outside the Pullman Cairns International hotel tomorrow morning, urging immediate and decisive action from the Queensland Government to deliver a boost to local jobs, the economy, and the environment by supporting an enhanced coastal shipping industry.

The Maritime Union of Australia will then give evidence to the Inquiry into a Sustainable Queensland Intrastate Shipping Industry, being held in the Bluewater 2 room of the Pullman Hotel.

Following the enquiry, a public forum will be held outlining the union’s blueprint for shipping industry reform, focusing on the potential social, economic and environmental benefits to the local community.

MEDIA ALERT: CAIRNS — Tuesday 19 March, 2019
Union rally: 10am — outside Pullman Hotel (17 Abbott Street)
Parliamentary inquiry: 11:30am to 1:45pm — Bluewater 2 room (Pullman Hotel)
Public forum: 3pm — The Jack Hotel (corner Sheridan & Spence Streets)

The union will explain that 11,000 voyages are made by large ships along the Queensland coast annually, carrying 23 million tonnes of cargo between Queensland ports, yet the vast majority of these voyages take place on international “Flag of Convenience” ships that use foreign crews on poor wages and conditions.

In a comprehensive submission to the Inquiry, the MUA urges the Queensland Government to turn this situation around by ensuring coastal transport and energy infrastructure delivers for Queensland by providing local jobs and protecting the state’s precious coastline. The recommendations include:

  • restoring a strengthened Restricted Use Flag to explicitly provide for the economic regulation of foreign ships operating in Queensland;

  • legislating to quarantine known large intra-state shipping routes for Australian ships;

  • reform of Australian coastal shipping legislation to ensure that regular shipping between Queensland and other states takes place on Australian ships with decent working conditions; and

  • support the creation of a Queensland coastal shipping service tailored to our needs.

The union said these proposed reforms would increase local jobs, ensure shipping off the Queensland coast and through the Great Barrier Reef is of the highest standard, take trucks off our roads, and reduce carbon emissions by ensuring domestic vessels conform to the highest emissions standards.

The union will also highlight a number of case studies showing the need for reform, including:

  • Origin Energy’s reliance on two foreign-crewed LPG tankers which have worked continuously on the Queensland coast since 2008; and

  • Rio Tinto shipping millions of tonnes of bauxite from Weipa to Gladstone each year, yet carrying less than one-third on Australian-crewed ships.


The MUA’s submission to the inquiry is available at:

Media contact: Tim Vollmer 0404 273 313