International Transport Workers Federation welcomes new Seafarers Centre at Port Hedland

Published: 5 May 2024




6 MAY 2024

International Transport Workers Federation welcomes new Seafarers Centre at Port Hedland


With the West Australian Government’s announcement of new funding for a seafarers centre at Port Hedland, the Australian coordinator of the International Transport Workers Federation (the ITF), Ian Bray, has welcomed the government’s ongoing commitment to the welfare of often vulnerable and isolated seafarers upon whom so much of the West’s resources prosperity depends.


“Our state’s wealth and prosperity is delivered through the ports and harbours along our coast that open WA up to the world, so we commend the Minister for Ports David Michael on this important investment in the welfare of the workers who make that possible” said Mr Bray.


The new seafarer’s centre at Port Hedland will be a fit-for-purpose facility where all port and seafarers welfare organisations can provide outreach to tens of thousands of seafarers who visit the bustling seaport each year.


Seafarers Centres have always been places where visiting maritime workers, far from home, can access vital employment services, pastoral care, mental health support and recreational facilities.


The investment by the state government, totalling $13.5 million for design and construction, will be funded in the upcoming state budget, but the costs will eventually be recouped from major industry players such as BPH, Fortescue and Atlas Iron through a shipping charge. The $13.5 million in this announcement is on top of $2 million already invested to purchase land for the facility at Pilbara Ports.


The new facility will provide accommodation facilities, recreation services, dining options and a small chapel to support seafarers on shore leave while their ships are berthed nearby.


“Seafarers on these ships are some of the most vulnerable and most exploited workers on the planet, and too often they are treated by business and government as out-of-sight and out-of-mind. That’s why shore leave facilities like the new seafarers’ centre at Port Hedland are so important.


“They are places to unwind and disconnect briefly from the pressures and isolation of life at sea, but they are also places away from the boss where workers can get support and advice from their unions about their rights, and access to free welfare services like those provided by Hunterlink and the Tas Bull Seafarers Foundation,” Mr Bray said.


“The ITF Inspectorate, which has recently recouped more than A$30 million in stolen wages from seafarers around Australia, has been fighting to ensure all visiting seafarers are offered the opportunity to take shore leave for their mental and physical wellbeing ,” Mr Bray said. “This facility will ensure there’s somewhere accessible and affordable for them to go,” he said.





Authorised by P Crumlin, Maritime Union of Australia, Sydney