Proposed changes to Australia’s maritime laws could damage Australia’s domestic shipping industry and put at risk 10,000 jobs.
Warren Truss’ options paper for coastal shipping is a smokescreen for its intention to allow businesses to use foreign flagged vessels to avoid paying Australian wages.
The previous Labor government corrected this market distortion in reforms put in place in July 2012, as part of the first re-write of the nation’s maritime laws in a century.
Labor’s shipping reforms included a zero tax rate for local operators, to help reverse the decline overseen by the Howard Government from 55 Australian registered vessels to 21.
Mr Truss wants to wind back those changes before they have had time to work.
Labor believes that mariners plying domestic coastal routes should be paid Australian level wages, as happens in every other industry in the country.
If this does not occur, then there is a competitive disadvantage for Australian ships.