The Maritime Union of Australia today backed calls from the Minister for Transport Anthony Albanese for the shipping industry to "get real" about reforming and revitalising the Australian shipping industry.
Addressing industry heavyweights at the Natship09 conference at the Sydney Hilton today, Mr Albanese spoke of the crucial need to revitalise the industry: "Its real and you all know it's real....We have to get real, act with maturity and act in a collaborative fashion".
National secretary of the MUA Paddy Crumlin supported the Minister's call for the industry to work together to consider and adopt recommendations from the shipping inquiry without delay.
"There will be issues that all parties do not agree on but these are not unsurmountable and there is much common and fertile ground that can lead to reinvestment in ships domestically and internationally", Mr Crumlin said.
Mr Crumlin also strongly supported the Government's announcement of an overhaul of the out dated Navigation Act 1912 so that it supports the real needs of the industry and protects Australia's pristine environment.
"This is a start to the reform agenda. The Act regulates and establishes the standards for our industry and sets the bar for safety of crew, passengers and cargo and seaworthiness of vessels. The Act and the overall health of the industry was neglected by the previous Government and we congratulate the Minister and ask him to action it as quickly as possible. He will get our total co-operation", Mr Crumlin said.
"The review will sharpen the sustainability and green credentials of our industry, with oil tankers and chemical carriers navigating close by environmental icons such as Queensland's Great Barrier Reef and WA's Ningaloo Reef.
Yesterday Mr Crumlin launched a new platform for revitalisation, Time for a Sea Change in Australian Shipping, calling for the Federal Government to adopt a comprehensive package of regulatory reforms and fiscal support without delay.
Minister for Transport Anthony Albanese has commissioned and tabled an inquiry into coastal shipping. Mr Crumlin was part of a Shipping Policy Advisory Group appointed by the Minister to turn the inquiry's recommendations into a new national shipping policy.
Key recommendations that the MUA is looking for the Government to act on include:
- Effective tax incentives for the industry to invest in new ships
- Training for new seafarers to fill the skills shortage including a national maritime skills strategy
- Tighter regulations to promote competition and guard against ships of shame on our pristine coast
- A tonnage tax common in major shipping nations where shipping makes an essential economic contribution
- PAYE Tax reform for Australian crew on international voyages
- A Shipping Industry Taskforce to see policy is converted into action
Mr Crumlin is calling on anyone looking to Australia's future, to send a message of encouragement and support to Minister Albanese to revitalise Australian shipping.
An email message can be sent to Minister Albanese on the MUA website.
Listen to the minister's speech.