The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has given its strong support to today’s announcement by Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese for substantial reform of Australia’s shipping industry.
MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin said Mr Albanese should be congratulated for putting this important nation building issue on the agenda.
“The MUA welcomes shipping reform as one of the greatest policy developments in Australian shipping since the Navigation Act was introduced in 1912,” Mr Crumlin said.
“It recognizes the importance of Australia as the fourth largest shipping nation by volume and the numbers are increasing with the mineral resources boom.
“We have long been one of the world’s largest shipping nations but we lost critical momentum in this vital industry during the Howard years.
“The new policy restores fairness and transparency to the way shipping participates in the domestic freight market, while greatly increasing the potential for greenfield opportunities for Australian businesses to participate in international shipping.
“If implemented properly, shipping reform will be good for the domestic economy - providing surety of investment, regular scheduling, efficient and effective utilization of ships, and developing the critical shortage in maritime skills that Australia as a trading and shipping nation so desperately needs.
“It has been done in consultation with, and will be good for, shippers, ship operators, ship owners, and Australian and regional seafarers.”
Mr Crumlin said shipping reform ties in well with the Government’s national ports strategy and national freight strategy.
“There can be no question that shipping and ports are two key pieces of infrastructure that underpin the nation’s economic performance. Shipping is one of the vertebrae - together with road and rail - which forms the backbone of the nation’s freight system.
“That’s why the Gillard Labor Government’s shipping policy, ports strategy and development of a national freight plan must be considered significant economic reforms.
“We now await the detail contained in the draft legislation. Of course, once we receive the detail, we will further consult our membership to determine the union’s final position.”