Tasmanian Labor Leader Bryan Green today threw his support behind the 36 seafarers who he said are being sold out by the Abbott Liberal Government.
“Seafaring used to be a long-term, skilled and viable career path for young Australians but just like manufacturing the Liberals are happy to abandon these jobs,” Mr Green said.
“Tony Abbott appears hell bent on unraveling cabotage arrangements which ensure Australian seafarers are employed on Coastal shipping routes.
“It won’t just be the 36 men and women aboard the Alexander Spirit who lose their jobs, if the Abbott Government gets its way and is able to completely dismantle the Coastal Trading Act, the jobs of all workers on Australian ships will be under threat.
“This is little more than work choices on the waterfront.
“It’s not on that a dedicated and skilled local workforce can be dumped in favour of exploited foreign labour, which would be paid less than $2 an hour.
Mr Green questioned the motives of Caltex for sacking the crew of the Alexander Spirit.
“They claim it’s all about cost-cutting but modeling shows the cost per litre of fuel to maintain an Australian seafarer instead of a foreign one is miniscule, it wouldn’t even register at the petrol pump.
“Local petrol prices, which are some of the highest in the country, have barely shifted in the past year despite global oil prices being the lowest in more than six years, so forgive me if I am cynical about Caltex’s reasoning behind their decision.”
I urge Caltex to reconsider and I call on the State and Federal Government to stop their attacks on Australian workers.
Mr Green joined a Community Picket being staged outside of the wharf gates at Devonport.