MUA Highlights Security Loopholes

Maritime workers demand government action on real security loopholes and stop witch hunt of transport workers.

Unions claim the government changes to Maritime Security will threaten honest transport workers while leaving gaping holes in our ports’ security.

“Government is squandering an opportunity to make effective changes to national security and instead is adopting a Rambo-style scattergun approach by increasing the offences by which workers will be excluded from holding an ID card. Many of these, like cheque fraud, affray, perjury and avoiding a government fee are irrelevant in this debate.” said Dean Summers, Australia’s Co-coordinator for the International Transport Workers Federation. 

“The real issues are that there is no requirement for those with absolute control over critical infrastructure, equipment, recruitment, planning and scheduling to be checked. People with intimate knowledge of port operations, who have key decision making responsibilities, are currently not picked up in this scheme but left unchecked.

“Unions demand that the government focus on the real threats rather than continue a redundant witch hunt of transport workers.

“Containers are packed in container yards far removed from the security regulated zones by casual workers on low wages. After the containers are packed someone puts a pre-purchased customs security seal on it and it’s delivered to a port.

“Its obvious to everyone that the security regulated zones must be extended to the place where the boxes are packed.” 

“ITF affiliate the Maritime Union of Australia has always maintained that that the security at Australian ports and oil and gas facilities is critically important for the safety and welfare of all transport workers so we do have an idea of the real threats - that’s not people passing dud checks. 

“Unions will challenge irrelevant additions to the government the Government’s 161 new offences which are simply an attack on the basic rights of individuals and Australian working families.

“A relatively minor crime committed many years ago for which the perpetrator has made retribution doesn't make a person more or less liable to become involved in terrorism. It is also at odds with the Australian values of a fair go.

“The Government’s proposal to require the 120,000 MISC card holders – truck drivers, oil and gas rig employees, seafarers and stevedores –to undergo compulsory security checks every 2 rather than 5 years, is also going to cost. The Government’s tail chasing answer to security will cost between $12 million and $20 million”, said Summers.

Media Contact: Dean Summers 0419 9346648

Michael Meagher: 0410 482367