It appears to the AMOU that the Queensland Government will soon be making a decision on the direction of pilotage services in the Queensland ports.

The AMOU is consistently being told that the Queensland Government holds the view that pilotage is not core business for Queensland Transport and Main Roads.

It has been suggested that the responsibility for port pilotage services shall be taken away from Maritime Safety Queensland and given to the Port Authorities.

AMOU correspondence to the Minister for Transport

The AMOU has written to the Queensland Minister for Transport exploring views on pilotage matters by way of a letter dated Monday 6 August 2012.

The AMOU has stated to the Queensland Government the following position:

"The AMOU asserts that the pilotage service currently conducted by Maritime Safety Queensland has a safety and service delivery record of the highest order and respectfully suggests that any alternative model implemented by the Queensland Government should do nothing to compromise this record.

The AMOU is instructed to put to the Queensland Government that the majority of Maritime Safety Queensland Marine Pilots do not support a competitive tender model resulting with one or more pilotage services being operating within the Queensland ports for a defined period.

We also believe from our experience that any devolving of pilotage services to major port user mining companies would not be in the best overall interests of Queensland. A commercially neutral pilotage delivery model, the port of Newcastle is an example, provides the best outcome for customers and enables the highest level of safety to be delivered without any compromise.

The model supported by the majority of Maritime Safety Queensland Marine Pilots and one that achieves the highest safety outcomes with a seamless transition is for the Gladstone Port Corporation to directly employ the current Marine Pilots stationed in Gladstone and that North Queensland Bulk Ports takeover the existing marine pilotage operations in the Cairns, Townsville and Mackay MSQ regions and directly employ the existing MSQ Marine Pilots." 

North Queensland Marine Pilots Council

The AMOU has facilitated two meetings of the Northern Marine Pilots Council in Cairns on 30 May 2012 and in Townsville on 28 June 2012.

The Pilots Council is comprised of Marine Pilots representatives from the Cairns, Townsville, Gladstone and Mackay regions and its decisions guide AMOU policy on Queensland Marine Pilots matters.

AMOU meets the Director General Queensland Transport

The AMOU met Michael Caltabiano the Director General of Queensland Transport in Brisbane on Monday 20 August 2012.

The meeting was a success for both groups and there is a large measure of understanding between the Director General and the AMOU.

Matters Discussed included:

  1. Possible devolution of marine pilotage responsibility to the Port Authorities
  2. The renewal of the AMOU-MSQ Marine Pilots enterprise agreements 2012.
  3. Possible changes in legislation effecting Marine Pilotage in Queensland.
  4. Retention of current pilots and the need to create a position of certainty during a period of change.

Further discussions and communications are to take place in the near future on these matters.

AMOU meets BMP

The AMOU has met with the Directors of Brisbane Marine Pilots and has discussed with BMP the possible changes in policy direction by the Queensland Government on Marine Pilotage matters.

It was agreed that the AMOU and BMP share a range of common interests and will continue to communicate and work together on these matters.

Private Company involvement in Queensland Marine Pilotage matters

The AMOU does not support a competitive tender model for Queensland Pilotage services.

The AMOU has become aware that a number of private companies have or are expressing an interest in operating Marine Pilotage businesses.

The AMOU cautions members when approached by offers to consider a private company arrangement. 

The AMOU is concerned that the lobbying of private held company interests could cause an open tender position to be adopted with the result being a breakup of the current high standard of marine pilotage services.