Aussie seafarers will protest outside the Prime Minister’s Sydney office at midday today demanding Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull stands up for Australian workers.
The Maritime Union of Australia said it was outrageous the former merchant banker was re-elected to the country’s top job on a mantra of “jobs and growth”, yet 13 months later had done nothing.
MUA NSW Branch Secretary Paul McAleer said protesters would rally outside the Prime Minister’s office to raise the plight of Aussie seafarers – whose ranks have been decimated in recent years.
“Have you heard Malcolm Turnbull’s plan for jobs? Neither have we,” McAleer said.
McAleer said Monday’s tragedy where the US Navy warship USS John McCain collided with an oil tanker in waters east of Singapore and the Straits of Malacca provided a stark reminder that Australia’s fuel security was at risk should there be any major supply shock.
The Liberian-flagged oil tanker Alnic MC until 2014 operated in Australia as the Tandara Spirit.
“There are now no Australian-crewed tankers supplying fuel to our nation, down from 12 in the year 2000. At the same time, the number of refineries has halved. This means we are entirely at the mercy of market forces when it comes to fuel supply,” McAleer said.
“A recent Senate inquiry heard that Australia's total stockholding of oil and liquid fuel comprises of two weeks of stocks at sea, 5 to 12 days of supply at refineries, 10 days of refined stock at terminals and 3 days of stocks at service stations.
“A substantial disruption in fuel supply would have serious consequences across the Australian community when it comes to delivery of food, medicine and running family cars on our roads.
“Australians would expect our Government to have a better plan and this would involve more refining here and Australian-crewed ships to carry it around the coast.”
The Abbott/Turnbull Government’s 2015 Energy White Paper found that Australia's current oil stockholdings do not currently meet its obligations under the International Energy Agency (IEA) treaty, under which Australia is obliged to hold oil stocks equivalent to 90 days.
The Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee inquiry into Australia's transport energy resilience and sustainability reported in June 2015 that Australia is the only country amongst the 28 member states that fails to meet its IEA oil stockholding obligations.
“Evidence to the committee suggested that Australia is almost totally reliant on liquid fuels for transport and transportation services which underpin significant economic activity, utilities and essential services.
“Therefore, any substantial disruption to Australia's transport fuel supplies would have a significant impact on safety, national security, national productivity and society.”