Caltex Decision Shows Abbott Government's True Colours on Australian Jobs and Fuel Security

Labor Senator and Chair of the Senate Rural, Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee, Glenn Sterle has today slammed Caltex for its shameless move to sack the Australian crew of the oil tanker Alexander Spirit.

Senator Sterle said that Caltex had clearly been encouraged by the Abbott Government’s legislation which is aimed at dismantling the Coastal Shipping Act to allow foreign seafarers to be employed on domestic trade routes for lower wages and conditions. The legislation has been sent to a Senate committee for investigation amidst widespread concern in the Senate over its consequences for Australian workers and the nation’s fuel security.

“Caltex is quite clearly pre-empting the Abbott Government’s intention to unravel Cabotage and is treating Australian workers disgracefully,” Senator Sterle said.

Senator Sterle said that not only was this move by Caltex bad for Australian workers, it undermined Australia’s fuel supply networks.

The Senate’s Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee recently completed an inquiry into Australia's transport energy resilience and sustainability and reported that Australia’s fuel security measures were inadequate.

“By allowing companies to sack Australian workers and bring in foreign crews, the Abbott Government is undermining our country’s fuel security at a time when we should be actively looking to protect our supply networks”, Senator Sterle said.

“While Caltex may have jumped the gun on the Tony Abbott’s legislation by moving before it is debated in the parliament, they have given a wonderful insight into the way the industry will behave if the Abbott Government lets them run riot, without any consequences.”

“It’s clear that without proper regulation, this industry will become the Wild West. We can’t let this happen; Australian jobs and Australia’s fuel security are just too important,” Senator Sterle said.