Shipowners Join Union In Battle For Ship Reform

The Australian Shipowners Association has joined the Maritime Union in the push to have Rudd Government to launch ship reform

ASA executive director Teresa Hatch told members at an association breakfast recently that the industry is fighting a political perception in Canberra that shipping reform can wait until after the next election.

Reform, she said, could make the difference between industry survival and its demise.

ASA now counts the Australian fleet at 30, having lost six ships in the past 18 months.  Another eight are on the line with investment decisions due in the next 18 months.

"If we wait until they call an election and they take it forward as ALP policy, then they actually implement it... we are looking at at least two years before we get the legislation and tax amendments to support the industry," she said.

Despite differences the union and the ASA have had over industrial issues in recent months, both parties have been able to dovetail the tax message.  Both have met with politicians and the MUA has made presentations featuring an accountant and academic explaining the UK tonnage tax experience to senior bureaucrats, Lloyds List DCN reports.