Albanese and MUA dig in on coastal shipping laws

By: Paul Howell


Federal Opposition warns shipping regulations are facing a “full frontal attack”.

Albanese and MUA dig in on coastal shipping laws
Opposition spokesman on transport and infrastructure Anthony Albanese.

 

Federal Labor has urged the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) to continue defending the existing arrangements for coastal shipping within Australia.

Opposition spokesman on transport and infrastructure Anthony Albanese used his address to the MUA’s national council meeting to defend the laws.

The Federal Government has signalled its intention to wind back the 2012 Coastal Trading Act, which subjects foreign ships to Australian work, safety, and pay regulations when working Australian domestic routes.

Infrastructure minister Warren Truss says the reforms are slowly choking the industry, and diverting more freight to road and rail routes.

He notes that the number of Australians ships active in the domestic industry has fallen since the reforms came into effect, and there are fewer voyages taking place.

Albanese, speaking on the opening day of the week-long council, warned the MUA the reforms were now facing "a full frontal attack".

He denied suggestions the laws amounted to a bailout for Australian shippers and workers.

"The reforms weren’t protectionism – they were about a level playing field for Australian ships," Albanese says.

"You can’t bring in a Filipino truck driver to bring a load up the Hume Highway – it should be no different on the blue highway (sea routes)."

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