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Union welcomes new Australian shipping policy

Union welcomes new Australian shipping policy

Sydney: Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) national secretary Paddy Crumlin has welcomed the report on the Inquiry into Coastal Shipping Policy and Regulation (tabled in Australia's federal parliament on Monday) as it "provides a solid foundation to revitalise the struggling Australian shipping industry", reports maritime global Net.

The report recommends action in five key areas. These are: legislative reform; cabotage; new taxation arrangements to encourage investment in Australian ships; steps to address the lack of investment in education and training and creation of a national port development plan to fund port infrastructure.

"If intelligently developed and implemented the policies and regulatory proposals in the report provide the basis for Australia to become a regional centre for maritime trade and training in the Asia Pacific region," said Crumlin.

According to an International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) statement, the Australian domestic trading fleet was 'decimated' under the previous government, falling below 100 for the first time at a time when the volume and value of freight and commodities increased yearly. Currently, ITF says, only 1% of the Australian seafaring workforce is under 21 years of age owing to a severe lack of investment in education and training.

Crumlin has urged all sections of the Australian shipping industry to play an active role in ensuring the government proceeds with a wide ranging response to the report. He confirmed that the MUA would play its part in ensuring the success of a shipping reform package.  [23/10/08]