Tuesday, 2 April 2019
That the Senate—
(i) that only 14 Australian-flagged trading vessels operate in this country,
(ii) that up to 80 Australian seafarers were sacked following the decision by BHP and Bluescope to remove the MV Mariloula and the MV Lowlands Brilliance from their iron ore route between Port Hedland and Port Kembla, replacing them with foreign-flagged vessels with exploited foreign crews getting paid as little as $2 an hour,
(iii) the ongoing failure of the Liberal-National Government to stand up for Australian seafarers and to support the Australian shipping industry, a situation that will be made worse by its Coastal Trading (Revitalising Australian Shipping) Amendment Bill 2017 that could open up more domestic sea freight routes, including Bass Strait, to foreign-flagged ships and exploited foreign crews, and
(iv) that the continued failure of the Liberal-National Government to guarantee that Bass Strait shipping would not be impacted by its proposed legislative changes threatens the jobs of Tasmanian seafarers and leaves Tasmanian exporters at the mercy of decisions in overseas boardrooms; and
(b) calls on the Federal Government to:
(i) support Australian seafarers and the Australian shipping industry and abandon the Coastal Trading (Revitalising Australian Shipping) Amendment Bill 2017, and
(ii) investigate the establishment of an Australian 'strategic merchant fleet' in areas of importance to the Tasmanian and Australian economy, such as the importation and distribution of liquid fuel, namely crude oil, aviation fuel and diesel, and quarantining the domestic sea freight task on Bass Strait as part of a 'strategic fleet'.
The government understands how the termination of contracts for the MV Lowlands Brilliance and the MV Mariloula will affect Australian seafarers and their families. However, this is entirely a commercial decision by BHP and is not subject to government regulation. The Coastal Trading (Revitalising Australian Shipping) Amendment Bill 2017 makes regulatory amendments intended to reduce regulatory burden on industry, make coastal shipping a more viable mode of transport and benefit the manufacturing, mining, agricultural and energy sectors. The amendments maintain protections for Australian freight vessels and pay and conditions of Australian seafarers.
This is not my first speech. This Labor motion criticises foreign ships carrying our exports and says exporters are worried about decisions made in foreign boardrooms. Our exporters want decisions to be made in foreign boardrooms and they want foreign ships because it makes it better for them and their jobs.