Compact Reports on Shipping Reform

Transcript of Door Stop: Parliament House, Canberra
31 May 2012
Subjects: Federal Labor's historic shipping reforms; Parliamentary behaviour

Anthony Albanese: I am very pleased to be here on what is a historic day.

Today the House carried five pieces of legislation that will revitalise the Australian shipping industry and I'm joined by Teresa Lloyd of the Australian Shipowners Association, and Paddy Crumlin from the Maritime Union of Australia.

Today as well, they've announced a Compact between employers and employees-the MUA, the Australian Maritime Officers Union through Fred Ross, and the Australian Shipping Association-in order to deliver productivity and efficiency benefits as part of this reform.

This is a historic reform.

We're an island continent. We depend upon ships for our trade. More than 99 per cent of our trade goes through shipping. We have the fourth largest shipping task in the world, and yet we've seen a decline-55 ships down to 22 in recent years, and dropping. We only have four ships engaged in the international trade. That is not good enough.

There are real reasons for recognising that an Australian shipping industry is absolutely vital. Economic, in terms of productivity, environmental, in terms of making sure that we have top quality ships and trained people with proper conditions operating around our coast, and also reasons of national security.

Today's legislation does just that. It produces a zero rate of taxation for Australian ships. It produces a zero rate of taxation for Australian seafarers. And it makes sure that they can compete with international shipping, not only around our coast through properly regulated arrangements, but can also grow and expand into the international trade.

I want to acknowledge the fact that both the employers and employees have been flexible and have made sure that they haven't put their own interests first. They've put the national interest first.

This is a great day for Australian shipping. I am very confident after the discussions that we've had that over coming months I'll be a part of announcements of new investments in Australian shipping.

Australian shipping is also important in terms of workforce development, and today's announcement of the Compact is the next step.