Australian shipping is at the crossroads. The Turnbull Conservative Government is attacking Australian seafarers on multiple fronts:
Coastal Trading Act - “WorkChoices on water”
The Turnbull Government wants to alter the Coastal Trading Act to open up and deregulate Australian ports and create “WorkChoices on water”. Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss has passed his legislation into the Lower House and the MUA lobbied for the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Legislative Committee to report back to the Senate on October 12, 2015. The amendment Bill is yet to appear in the Senate for debate. The current Coastal Trading Act, introduced by the former Labor Government with Anthony Albanese as the Transport Minister, protects Australian ports and Australia’s environment by granting preference to Australian vessels that allows them to carry passengers or cargo between domestic ports.The Act protects local Australian ships from Flag of Convenience (FOC) ships, with their poor standards and exploited crews, taking over our ports and displace Australian vessels.If protections are removed it will jeopardise maritime jobs, skills, fuel security, maritime security and the environment.The MUA will continue to talk to unions and the ACTU, the ALP, Greens and crossbench Senators to try to ensure that we keep our jobs and protect our industry.
The Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee report into Australia's transport energy resilience and sustainability was tabled 25 June 2015. The report found that found that Australia’s fuel security measures were not adequate and recommended the following:Recommendation 3: The committee recommends that the Australian Government develop and publish a comprehensive Transport Energy Plan directed to achieving a secure, affordable and sustainable transport energy supply. The plan should be developed following a public consultation process. Where appropriate, the plan should set targets for the secure supply of Australia's transport energy.
Australia is already down to four refineries and two Australian-crewed vessels carrying fuel around our coast, compared to eight refineries and 11 vessels in 1996.Australian refining and Australian shipping remain a vital part of ensuring Australia’s fuel security into the future and unless the Government does something, we are forecast to have no refineries and no Australian shipping.This places Australia completely at the mercy of foreign markets and we would have no insurance policy against any major supply shock – whether it be from a refinery fire in Singapore, a terrorist or piracy attack in the Straits of Malacca, or environmental tragedy on the Great Barrier Reef.