May 5, 2011

Australia closer to signing the Maritime Labour Convention

Australia closer to signing the Maritime Labour Convention

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

Minister for Infrastructure & Transport

Leader of the House

Federal Member for Grayndler

May 5 2011

Australia is one step closer to becoming a signatory to the Maritime Labour Convention following the signing of an accord today in Cairns.

I signed the accord with representatives from the International Labour Organization and the International Maritime Organization, in front of delegates from across the Asia Pacific region.

The accord encourages all countries in this region to work together towards the ratification of the Maritime Labour Convention, which is often referred to as ‘seafarers’ bill of rights’.

There are 1.2 million seafarers in the world and their work is often hard, dangerous and out of sight of the general public.

The convention sets minimum standards for their employment, accommodation, recreational facilities, food and catering, health care, welfare and social security protection.

The convention will come into force 12 months from the date it secures the signature of 30 nations.

Australia is already substantially compliant and once it has been considered by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, I will be introducing the Navigation Amendment Bill to give effect to the Maritime Labor Convention during the winter sitting.

The Bill provides for the issuing of declarations of maritime labour compliance and maritime labour certificates.

Once the Convention is in force, all ships over 500GT on international voyages will be required to carry the certificates.

Surveyors from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority will be empowered to inspect all ships at Australian ports to ensure they comply with the requirements of the convention.

Our ships will be subject to similar inspections at foreign ports in countries that are signatories to the MLC.

Last year was the International Year of the Seafarer and I can think of no better tribute to those who spend their working lives aboard ships than the implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention.