ITF president welcomes Australian shipping reform
ITF president and Maritime Union of Australia national secretary Paddy Crumlin yesterday welcomed the passing of bills that secure thefuture of Australian shipping.
The Australian government's landmark ShippingReform Package bills today passed the Australian Parliament's House ofRepresentatives with a narrow vote of 71 – 69.
All of the speakers in favour made mention of the hard work of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) – its national secretary Paddy Crumlin and all the members involved.
The bills represent over 10 years of work by the MUA, especially Mr Crumlin, and follows the endorsed support from members at therecent Seafarers Conference and National MUA Conference.
Mr Crumlin said this was the biggest maritime reform since the passing of the Navigation Act 100 years ago:
"What Australia has done today is shown the way in international shipping.
The government has demonstrated that FOC shipping can be defeated and that all seafarers have a right to work in the industry.
"Cabotage is back on the menu for seafarers worldwide.
These bills not only protect the national flag on Australia's coastline they privilege it.
"The support of the ITF was also critical to the political will to enact these wide-ranging and internationally important reforms, and the ITF is enshrined in this legislation, said Mr Crumlin.
The five bills that represent the legislative package give a zero company tax rate to shipowners as an incentive to flag their vessels with the Australian flag. This will go towards ensuring that Australian seafarers have a future in their own country, and that cabotage is enshrined.
Importantly, the legislation also provides a model for regional labour cooperation, introducing an Australian International Shipping Register which is profoundly different to a second register, Mr Crumlin continued.
"The register will provide for regional workers from the Pacific and Timor Leste to work on Australian flagged ships under Australian collective agreements to ITF standards. The MUA supports this position.
We now call upon other nations around the world to look to Australia's example and work to protect their own national fleets, cabotage and workers so that we can do away with flags of convenience forever.
"The Australian reforms will create employment, sustain business opportunities and productivity and build the national interest through an industry that has always been and always will be critical to the quality of Australia's economy, environment and way of life."
ITF (International Transport Workers Federation) general secretary David Cockroft commented: "This breakthrough and the recent decision on reflagging fishing vessels in New Zealand shows that unions are continuing to prove that, even in a globalised world, the need is for responsible shipping that has genuine ties to those who work onships and the wider populations that they serve. To the best of my knowledgethis is also the first time that ITF minimum standards have been specifically incorporated into national law.