May 3, 2013

New Strategy to guide development of Australia’s Maritime Workforce

Today I am releasing two very important documents that will help inform and guide the development of the Australian maritime workforce.  These are the Maritime Workforce Development Strategy and the first ever industry-wide census of the Australian maritime workforce.

Last year I established the Maritime Workforce Development Forum as part of the Stronger Shipping for a Stronger Economy initiative.  Ms Lynelle Briggs AO has been at the helm of a group of experts from across the maritime industry, developing the Maritime Workforce Development Strategy.

The importance of the Government’s shipping reforms is underscored by the Maritime Census I am also releasing today. The census confirms the seagoing workforce is ageing. The average age of the maritime workforce is 44 years.

The Strategy provides the government with nine recommendations to prevent a national maritime workforce shortage.

In an immediate response to the issues identified, the Federal Labor Government yesterday announced a Maritime and Freight Package that included $17 million to assist the Australian shipping industry meet its future workforce development needs.

The Package will provide $12 million over four years in additional funding for the Australian Maritime College (AMC), at the University of Tasmania, to secure VET training for over 500 maritime students and $5 million to assist the existing Australian shipping fleet meet its future workforce training needs.

This means that all five elements of the Federal Labor Government’s shipping reforms have now been delivered:

  • Fiscal incentives (including a zero tax rate for Australian shipping companies);
  • An Australian International Shipping Register;
  • A new coastal trading licencing regime;
  • An industry compact, and now
  • A workforce development and growth plan.

Other recommendations in the Maritime Workforce Development Strategy are currently being considered by the Government.

The Maritime Workforce Development Strategy and the Census are available from the following link: http://www.shipping.infrastructure.gov.au/mwdf/index.aspx