Maritime workers will rally outside The Grand Hotel in Gladstone 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.
When: 8am, Monday 18 March 2019
Where: The Grand Hotel, 79 Goondoon Street, Gladstone
A public hearing of the Inquiry into a Sustainable Queensland Intrastate Shipping Industry will be held in the MacArthur Room of The Grand Hotel from 9am, which the Maritime Union of Australia will use to outline a blueprint for reform.
More than 11,000 voyages are made by large ships along the Queensland coast each year, 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:
- Rio Tinto ships millions of tonnes of bauxite from Weipa to Gladstone each year. In 2010, the company agreed to carry up to 80 per cent of this cargo on Australian crewed ships, yet in the past decade the percentage of bauxite cargoes on Australian-crewed ships declined to just one-third;
- Origin Energy relies on coastal shipping for its LPG distribution network. It charters two LPG tankers that have worked continuously in Australia since they were built in 2008. For this entire time, Origin has avoided having Australian working conditions and an Australian crew on board.
- Orica has been using the same ship to transfer ammonia from Newcastle to Gladstone to make explosives for the mining industry since 2010, but has never employed Australian crew.
The MUA’s submission to the inquiry is available at: http://www.mua.org.au/queenslandshippinginquiry/
Media contact: Tim Vollmer 0404 273 313