Jan 30, 2015

Abbott shipping attack costing jobs

More jobs will be lost in Cairns as the Abbott Government promotes policies that would undermine Australian shipping and see it replaced with foreign ships under no obligation to pay Australian wages.

This week the Cairns Post reported that another Australian shipping company, Cairns-based cruise operator Coral Princess Cruises, which began in Townsville over 30 years ago, has been sold to overseas corporate interests.

Owner Tony Briggs blamed federal Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss, warning that the uncertainty surrounding the Abbott Government’s assault on the Australian shipping industry left him with no choice.

The sale of Coral Princess Cruises will mean fewer jobs in Cairns and other parts of Northern Australia.

The news comes as latest unemployment figures show the jobless rate in Tropical North Queensland remaining persistently high.

The day he was sworn, in Warren Truss started talking down the Australian shipping industry, and undermining the former Labor Government’s strong maritime laws introduced in 2012 to revitalise shipping in our island nation.

Mr Truss’ push to turn the coast into a free-for-all threatens not only up to 10,000 jobs, but also environmental safety as goods move around the Australian coast, including in the Great Barrier Reef.

Mr Truss must abandon his plan to destroy Australia’s shipping industry, which is not in the national interest.

Instead, he should start working to grow the industry and support the 2012 reforms initiated by the former Labor Government, which leveled the playing field for Australian industry to ensure it was able to support Australian jobs and a vibrant, successful Australian shipping sector.