The MUA has made its submission to the Senate Inquiry into the Effects of Red Tape on Cabotage

Published: 6 Apr 2017

The MUA has made its submission to the Senate Inquiry into the Effects of Red Tape on Cabotage.

Please find the recommendations below and a link to the full submission HERE.


  1. That the Committee recommend to the Government that the policy of maritime cabotage be retained in Australia as an important legal principle to underpin regulatory and fiscal support for the Australian shipping industry, a national strategic industry.

  2. That the Committee recommend to the Government that it accept that maritime cabotage is the foundation for providing for fair competition in coastal shipping with the objective of maintaining a floor level of Australian ships in Australian coastal seaborne trade and supporting Australian shipping businesses.

  3. That the Committee note that the Coalition Government has released a Coastal Shipping Reform Discussion Paper, which proposes administrative changes to the Coastal Trading (Revitalising Australian Shipping) Act 2012 (CT Act) which, if translated into legislation, could potentially result in a reduction in red tape, but note that such a reduction in red tape will have the perverse effect of advantaging foreign businesses to the detriment of Australian businesses.

  4. That the Committee note that the Australian Government has available to it, alternative mechanisms (alternatives to the current regulatory structure of the CT Act) to implement the principle of maritime cabotage that would reduce red tape and at the same time advantage Australian businesses rather than foreign businesses, these being:

    • (a) Commercialising the CT Act by (i) clarifying the Object of the CT Act and removing ambiguity; and (ii) by introduction of a contestability framework for settling the balance between Australian General Licensed ships and foreign Temporary Licensed ships in coastal trade, based on commercial principles well known in the shipping industry, supported by a commercial arbitration facility and pricing oversight by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC); and or

    • (b) Developing a new and separate ‘maritime crew visa’ for non-nationals employed on ships issued with a Temporary License under the CT Act that includes the same labour market testing and worker entitlement provisions that apply to a 457-work visa.

  5. That the Committee recommend that in parallel with the consultation process established by the Government by releasing a Coastal Shipping Reform Discussion Paper, the Government agree that a root and branch review of the potential future role of Australian shipping in the national freight task be undertaken, and that this review task be allocated to the Task Force established by the Government to support the Inquiry into Freight and Supply Chain Productivity announced by the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport on 9 March 2017.


Authorised by P Crumlin, Maritime Union of Australia, Sydney