The Maritime Union of Australia National Secretary and President of the International Transport Workers' Federation, Paddy Crumlin, today applauded the release of the Federal Government's discussion paper providing details on national shipping policy reform.
At the MUA's Sydney branch conference today, Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese announced a detailed legislation implementation plan which builds on the national shipping policy commitment made during the election campaign.
Mr Crumlin said changes to ship licensing and ship registration, combined with taxation measures like a tonnage tax which will replace corporate tax, will increase investment in Australian ships.
"We could conceivably see up to 10 new ships moving domestic freight on the Australian coast, and much of our iron ore, coal and agricultural exports carried in Australian registered ships within a short number of years," he said.
Mr Crumlin said the union supported the announcement by Minister Albanese that the Government aims to have the legislation finalised by the middle of next year and the reform package in place by mid 2012.
"We believe the time frame announced today is achievable given the amount of policy work undertaken since the Parliamentary Inquiry report on shipping was handed down in October 2008, and given the work of the Shipping Policy Advisory Group (SPAG) during 2009," he said.
"We also applaud the fact that the Minister has indicated the Navigation Act 1912 will be rewritten to provide contemporary and robust regulation for maritime safety.
"We will fully cooperate with the Government in ensuring the Minister is successful in delivering on this important economic policy reform."
"This policy package is good for Australian industry and for supply chain efficiency."
Mr Crumlin said the significant economic reform will improve the efficiency of the domestic freight market and the international bulk commodity trades.
"This is an important trade facilitation policy that will be important to underpin the growth of the resources and agricultural sectors throughout this country," he said.
"It has the potential to build a major new service industry in Australia and will attract foreign capital and lead to new investment and new jobs.
"It will also provide new modern ships, using Australian crews, to arrest the decline in maritime skills and build these skills in Australia. This is very important for a major shipping nation where maritime skills are vital in meeting the growing freight task, in port expansion, in regulatory agencies, in freight forwarding, in marine insurance, marine law and marine crewing needs.
"The development of the Australian shipping industry has major national defence, national security and environmental considerations, and is an important adjunct to the likely sign off by COAG early in 2011 on a National Ports Strategy.
Produced by Jamie McMechan Maritime Union of Australia - Film Unit.
Maritime Union of Australia (MUA)
Australian Council of Trade Union (ACTU)
International Transport Workers Federation (ITF)
International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)