Time To Team Up With Pacific Nations

Pacific maritime jobs poised to benefit from Australian shipping reforms    

There was a call at the ALP Conference in Sydney today for the Government to partner with key union and industry stakeholders on major resource projects with Pacific region nations, promoting workforce development, training and labour standards, trade and security.

Moving a resolution at the Conference the Maritime Union of Australia's National Secretary, Paddy Crumlin, said under Labor's Pacific Partnerships for Development strategy there were many opportunities for Australian unions to work on key projects including regional hydrocarbons projects such as the PNG LNG project, emerging oil and gas production in the Timor Sea and related shipping policy initiatives by the Government.

"There is a great chance to incorporate and benefit our regional Pacific neighbours in the shipping reforms currently being considered by the Transport Minister Albanese. At stake are critical trade, aid and security considerations in an area that has immense wealth and potential", Mr Crumlin said.

 "There are synergies to be gained from using the regional labour market to help balance seafarer supply and demand in Australia, while at the same time providing a skilled workforce for the emerging maritime industries in PNG and Timor Leste.

 "One of the recommendations in the shipping reform package is the training of new seafarers to fill the skills shortage including a national maritime skills strategy, a project that could be sensibly spread regionally.

Other initiatives in the shipping package include fiscal incentives to see reinvestment in Australian ships, promotion of Australian flagged and crewed ships in the domestic transport sector, PAYE Tax reform for Australian crew on international voyages and regulations to guard against labour exploitation and tax avoidance by international operators.

"Taking an industry or project approach to regional development goes with the long standing commitment of the ACTU and other unions to work closely with the peak union councils and industry unions in PNG, Timor Leste and the Pacific Islands to build capacity as a means of supporting workers rights", Mr Crumlin said. 

Paddy Crumlin: 0418 379660

Michael Meagher: 0410482367

(The resolution moved at conference follows)

Resolution - Chapter 10: Strengthening Australia in a changing world

Conference supports Labor's Pacific Partnerships for Development strategy with its focus on economic development in helping promote sustainable and equitable development, a strengthening of regional cooperation in areas including defence and security, climate change and sustainable resource and agricultural development, and work to ensure that impacts on the peoples and nations of the Pacific are fully considered in the negotiation of solutions to global problems.

Conference believes that there are considerable opportunities for the Government, in partnership with the key stakeholders, to develop concrete workforce development, training, labour standards, landowner, community participation and other initiatives around key regional minerals and petroleum projects such as the PNG LNG project, emerging oil and gas projects in the Timor Sea and related shipping initiatives.

Conference acknowledges that the industry or project approach to regional development would complement the long standing commitment of the ACTU and affiliates to work closely with the peak union councils and industry unions in PNG, Timor Leste and the Pacific Islands to build capacity as a means of supporting workers rights, encouraging employment and economic development, improving economic security of regional workers in the context of the ILO decent work concept, and the extension of democratic organisations as a key part of the development of civil society in regional nations.

Conference calls on the Government to ensure that the key industry and union stakeholders with links to regional industries and projects, particularly resource projects, are involved in the implementation of the Government's regional development policy.