Albanese wants shipping on 'equal transport footing'

Albanese makes shipping commitment, says more needs to be done to bring the sector up to an international level

Federal Transport Minster Anthony Albanese has committed to Australia’s shipping future and says much needs to be done to bring the sector up to an international level.

Addressing the National Shipping Industry Conference in Sydney today, Albanese vowed to rewrite the Navigation Act, which he labelled as out of touch.

"I can announce today that we [the Rudd Government] will rewrite the Navigation Act. That rewrite will be done in consultation with industry," Albanese says.

"I want the Act to be drafted in plain language, to reflect contemporary conditions and practices, to do away with unnecessary and out-date provisions and provide much-needed consultation with industry."

Among his greatest concern for the industry’s future is the increasingly aged workforce and national fleet, which Albanese feels may not be able to cope with an increasing level of freight moved both internationally and domestically.

"For the largest island nation with one of the largest shipping tasks, our presence in the international industry is negligible," he says.

"The challenges facing government, the maritime unions and shipowners when it comes to internationally flagged ships working our shores is significant.

"Like the shipping industry internationally, our domestic industry is experiencing significant skill and labour shortages and finding it hard to train new entrants."

Albanese says the Government is in the process of reviewing a report into the shipping industry and will deliver a response to the findings in the near future. He vows to work on a plan to ensure the industry is given the recognition it deserves.

"It’s a plan focused on ensuring that shipping is placed on an equal footing with other transport modes in the freight transport market, delivering on its strengths to the Australian nation," he says.

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