The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has criticised moves by the Australian government to deregulate its shipping industry by reforming the Coastal Trading Act, saying that the decision places at risk thousands of domestic jobs in the maritime sector.
According to ITF, the changes would dismantle a comprehensive reform package delivered by the previous government three years ago that created a level playing field in domestic shipping.
The 2012 package included support for Australian shipping companies, including tax breaks and training subsidies, as well as a requirement that foreign-flagged vessels pay Australian level wages when working domestic trade sectors, says ITF.
”The ITF strongly urges the retention and improvement of the Australia’s Coastal Trading Act. The international experience is that cabotage is a normal way to deliver domestic freight securely, safely and predictably for many maritime nations including the United State, Japan, China, Indonesia and the Philippines,” said ITF president Paddy Crumlin.
”It is in the national interest to retain and grow the coastal shipping industry yet these changes could directly impact around 2,000 direct jobs and up to 8,000 associated jobs – so 10,000 Australian jobs could go offshore. This could spell disaster on a number of fronts – maritime jobs, skills, fuel security, maritime security and pose a threat to the environment. We expect the government to put up legislation before our parliament in the first half of this year and we’re gearing up for a fight.”