ALP MP Anthony Albanese Raises the MV Portland in Parliament

Yesterday, Labor’s Shadow Minister for Infrastructure Anthony Albanese stood up in Parliament condemning the Government in their part on allowing the MV Portland be replaced by a Flag-of-Convenience.

I rise to express my concern for the workers who currently crew MV Portland, a ship operating around the Australian coast, between Victoria and Western Australia for Alcoa.

Alcoa have advised that they will sell this vessel and replace it with a foreign ship employing foreign workers.

This will result in a loss of 40 direct jobs and is completely consistent with what the legislation that is now before the Senate says would happen. 

It said this, in its own explanatory memorandum:

Many of the operators currently operating under the Australian General Register would likely re-flag their vessels in order to compete with the foreign operators who enjoy the benefit of comparatively lower wage rates. Australian seafarers’ jobs would be adversely affected as Australian operators re-flag from the Australian General Register. Ship operators are likely to replace Australian seafarers (paid under EA rates) with foreign seafarers (paid under ITF rates).

The modelling also showed that there was no inclusion of costs and the potential loss of Australian seafarers’ jobs in the legislation.

We said this would happen as a result of the government's legislation.

In advance of that legislation being carried, a temporary permit has been granted by the department against the existing legislation.

This is an outrageous decision.