Maintaining a domestic shipping industry is critical for an island nation yet Australia does not have a viable shipping fleet...
The MUA has a 10-point plan for reviving the domestic shipping industry...
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Ships are efficient, require no built infrastructure for navigation and are the least energy intensive of all transport modes. Shipping play an important economic and strategic role in the operation of the Australian economy as we are the fourth largest shipping task in the world. Ships are an important part of the domestic freight market; they are an essential link in manufacturing supply chains; they transport people and support tourism; and provide maritime services like towage and dredging around the coast.
Shipping supports all phases of offshore oil and gas production, the nation’s biggest export earner. They are central to international trade, delivering manufactured goods and exporting the nation's minerals, energy and agricultural production. Ships are critical to national security and the nations's defence capabilities. Building a national domestic shipping industry should leverage off Naval shipbuilding and Defence industry support. Rebuilding an Australian shipping requires shipping industry policy to be integrated with manufacturing industry policy, trade policy, Defence industry policy, energy policy, fuel security and national security policy.
Build and maintain political and stakeholder consensus for policy and regulatory stability in national shipping policy, to underpin investment in modern fit-for-purpose ships and related port infrastructure to meet the nation’s shipping and maritime support requirements.
Streamline the coastal trading regulatory and licensing regime (Coastal Trading Act) to create fair competition for Australian General License (GL) ships supplemented by Temporary Licensed (TL) foreign ships, and to reduce regulatory costs. In addition, extend the application of the Coastal Trading Act to include intra-state trading.
Establish a national strategic merchant fleet, available to support the national Defence effort, similar to the US Military Sealift Command and UK Royal Fleet Auxiliary; and to assist in provision of the nation’s fuel security, in both the civilian and Defence sectors.
Amend the Customs Act by refining the requirements for ship importation, with positive flow on effects for industry e.g. for dry docking, aimed at encouraging the development of the large cruise ship sector and for the offshore petroleum sector.
Reform the shipping taxation incentives to encourage investment in ships, Australian based ship management and ship service companies and to ensure the Australian International Shipping Register (AISR) is operable and internationally competitive.
Alter the application of the Fair Work Act and Part B of the Seagoing Industry Award so that rather than a foreign seafarer being paid a margin over and above the typical ITF Agreement rates that foreign seafarers would normally be receiving on an international ship in the form of Award Part B entitlements while on a TL voyage, the approximate equivalent amount be paid into a dedicated Strategic Maritime Development Fund (SMDF) that would support the National Strategic Fleet, seafarer workforce development and seafarer’s welfare consistent with the ILOs Maritime Labour Convention.
Strengthen the Maritime Crew Visa (MCV) so: (i) the existing MCV contains security, character and identify checking consistent with requirements for the issue of a Maritime Security Identification Card (MSIC); and (ii) there is a new and separate ‘maritime crew visa’ for non-nationals employed on ships issued with a Temporary License under the Coastal Trading (Revitalising Australian Shipping) Act 2012 (CT Act) who regularly work in the Australian coastal trade.
Build the maritime skills base by refreshing the 2013 Maritime Workforce Development Strategy and provide funding for its implementation.
Develop a new continuous improvement productivity and labour relations compact to accompany regulatory, fiscal and industry policy support for Australian ships.
Reduce supply chain costs by reducing port costs (adopting differential pricing for multi-sailing Australian vessels, by providing priority port berthing assess for Australian ships, and restructuring the application of AMSA levies to support Australian registered ships) and by investing in port infrastructure to encourage the establishment of dedicated coastal ro-ro services for containerised cargo/trucks.
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