Shipping Reform Legislation In The National Interest

The Federal Government's shipping reform legislative agenda introduced into Parliament today will serve the national interest well by reinvigorating the national shipping industry, Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) National Secretary Paddy Crumlin said today.

"Australia was once a great seafaring nation and can be again," Mr Crumlin said. 

"Our national fleet has shrunk to dangerous levels, a shameful reality for an island nation with a huge commodity boom going on and massive global trade by sea.

"Currently, any Australian standing on any beach and spying a merchant ship out to sea will almost certainly not be looking at an Australian flagged and crewed vessel."

Mr. Crumlin said the productivity and economic benefits of the Governments shipping reform legislation were profound.

"Having more ships calling Australia home will lead to the development of maritime economic clusters - insurers, repairers, suppliers etc - that bolster the range of the maritime skills base and stimulate economic activity," Mr Crumlin said.

"Better taxation arrangements for ships will mean that it is affordable - and profitable - for Australian companies to invest in shipping fleets."

"These reforms will also close the opportunity for foreign vessels to use the Australian coastal trade as a tax haven."

Importantly, the Maritime Union also noted that Australian ships are amongst the safest in the world.

"No Australian ship has ever run into the barrier reef; no Australian ship has been involved in an environmental disaster. The only ships to have run aground on our precious reefs have been foreign vessels.

Mr. Crumlin said the reforms introduced into Parliament were responsible with lots of transitional flexibility.

"The MUA joins with the entire industry in congratulating Minister Albanese on this legislation, which is the result of years of consultation."