Media release: Gillard Government’s Tassie maritime and freight announcement welcomed by maritime workers

The Maritime Union of Australia has welcomed the Gillard Government’s commitment to boost the future of the maritime workforce, invest in new jobs and build a new freight terminal at Bell Bay, in a package worth more than $22 million.


MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin said the Prime Minister’s announcement during her visit to Launceston today, coupled with the Tasmanian Government’s investment of $2.7 million into the Bell Bay infrastructure, was a win for maritime workers across Australia and would also benefit Tasmanians by delivering local jobs.


Approximately $5 million will be dedicated to implementing the recommendations of the Maritime Workforce Development Forum, which was tasked by the Gillard Government under its shipping reforms to design the architecture to meet skills gaps and secure the long-term future of the maritime industry workforce.


 “Prime Minister Gillard and Minister Albanese have demonstrated once again that they have the vision to secure the future of Australia as a major shipping nation,” Mr Crumlin said.


 “Tony Abbott and his Coalition colleagues on the other hand voted against shipping reform and have never worried about securing Australian jobs.


“This package will quickly boost maritime jobs and maritime skills in one of Australia’s most economically essential andstrategically sensitive industries.


“What it does is ensure that the supply of qualified labour is keeping up with demand, which will significantly reduce the future need for the employment of temporary overseas workers in the maritime industry and restore Australia’s maritime skills base.


“The MUA welcomes the introduction of a national maritime training co-contribution subsidy scheme which is aimed at incentivising ship-owners and operators to once again commit to training aimed at boosting maritime training numbers.”


The package also includes funding for the Australian Maritime College (AMC) to train an additional 170 maritime students each year to meet the new capacity.


“This announcement reinforces the AMC’s role in delivering quality maritime skills to people from all over Australia and potentially from all over the world. This is a tremendous boost for the college and the local economy,” Mr Crumlin said.  


 “This is the next chapter in the big story of shipping reforms, which will boost maritime trade, while also strengthening the Tasmanian economy.


“More than 95 per cent of the world’s trade is transported through shipping and as an export oriented nation it is vital that our shipping industry is strong."


The Secretary of the MUA's Tasmanian Branch Jason Campbell said the Prime Minister's announcement was welcome news for the local community. 


“Tasmania produces a wealth of high-quality agricultural products, which the world is increasingly hungry for. The timing is right to expand our shipping capacity in northern Tasmania," Mr Campbell said. 


 “Tassie deserves this boost. It’s been a difficult time for workers in some industries and this package will provide a fantastic opportunity for so many locals to retrain and be part of an expanding industry."