Maritime workers today celebrated the ALP State Conference passing a series of Maritime Union of Australia Northern Territory Branch motions at the weekend, aimed at ensuring the future viability and safety of NT ports and ships.
The MUA NT branch applauded the NT Labor Party for backing its safety push, most notably its call for greater maritime expertise to be established in a re-structured Work Health and Safety Authority.
MUA NT Branch Secretary Thomas Mayor said a marine safety and compliance unit is vital to the safety of maritime workers. The MUA push has been supported by families devastated by maritime fatalities and serious incidents in the Territory.
“The fatality that occurred in January of this year could have been avoided with better regulation and oversight of safety in the industry – one death is too many,” Mr Mayor said.
“There is great interest and support from those families who are ultimately the sufferers of the gaps in safety in the maritime industry.
“The MUA applauds the ALP State Conference for hearing its distress call and recognising the maritime industry in the Northern Territory is in crisis.
“The weekend has been positive and the Government has responded to our calls and committed to act, something the previous Giles Government failed to do, choosing to sell us out instead.”
The ALP NT Conference supported motions which would maximise local employment in NT ports and harbours, and boost permanent employment on the wharves, harbour vessels, tugs and landing craft.
The union also pushed for an ALP commitment to hold an inquiry this year into the saturation of Fly-In Fly-Out (FIFO) workers within all industry in the Northern Territory.
“There is not enough scrutiny on companies who make promises to promote local jobs,” Mr Mayor said. “We have ships that frequent this harbour without one local seafarer.”
Among the other MUA motions passed at the ALP State Conference were:
- Establish a Northern Territory Maritime Safety Board responsible for reviewing and approving the Port Safety Plan.
- Ensure Environmental Authority approval for projects
- Protect and build Australian shipping