400 Maritime Jobs in Braddon under threat if Liberal’s new Shipping Laws are passed by Senate

Independent Senator for Tasmania, Jacqui Lambie has called on the Liberal Party and its representatives to give a guarantee that the 400 maritime jobs in Tasmania’s federal seat of Braddon are not under threat by the Liberal government’s new shipping laws.

“Tasmania will be hit hard with maritime job losses if the Liberal’s plan to change our shipping laws succeed.” said Senator Lambie.

After a meeting with union representatives this morning - and consulting more broadly within the Maritime industry over many months – I’ve discovered that 148 seafarer and stevedore jobs at Toll, 96 at Searoad and 436 at TT-Line are placed at risk by the Liberal shipping plans - that member for Braddon Brett Whiteley and other government representatives are trying to push through the Senate.

A total of 580 direct Tasmanian maritime workers’ jobs will be threatened by Mr Whiteley’s plans for our nation’s shipping industry – and the majority of those workers (400) will be in Mr Whiteley’s own electorate,” Said Senator Lambie

“I haven’t even begun to calculate the flow-on effect should our maritime workers lose their jobs to foreigners. Just in Tasmania alone, thousands of direct and indirect jobs could be lost if the Liberal’s have their way.

There is no doubt that if Mr Whiteley and Mr Turnbull are given permission by the Senate to change our shipping laws, thousands of Australian workers will be replaced by cheap overseas labor. Thousands of Australian families will lose their breadwinners,” said Senator Lambie.

“And today on the front page of a Tasmanian local paper, we see how desperate and sneaky the Liberals are to pass their unfair and un-Australian shipping legislation.

Just as Mr Whiteley and his Liberals tried to use lies and political blackmail with their unfair “university deregulation” – they’ve again been caught out using the same political tactics with their flawed shipping legislation.

“Mr Whiteley has offered a promise of 40 extra jobs at the Burnie Port, but failed to mention that with the Liberal’s shipping legislation he’s prepared to sacrifice 400 maritime jobs from his own electorate,” said Senator Lambie.

“I agree with the argument that Australian shipping must be reformed. That’s why I’ve been working very hard for the last six months meeting with Maritime Unions, Australian ship owners, Captains of Tasmanian Industry and Shippers, so that a consensus shipping reform package can be put before the parliament,” said Senator Lambie.

The consensus shipping reform package will reduce shipping costs, promote efficiencies, open up domestic markets and enhance international markets - while protecting Australian jobs and our national interest,” said Senator Lambie.

“Already I’ve organised and participated in a number of historic consensus meetings between all shipping stakeholders, not seen since the 1980’s - which have found common ground for fair reform of our shipping laws. Yesterday's meeting at my office had input from not only the unions but also representatives from ship owners.

A shipping Crisis Summit on the 4th of September in Melbourne agreed to a number of key shipping reform principles and outcomes, including:

  1. Certainty
  • Critical need for political and policy certainty– the industry needs a bi-partisan (all political parties) approach.
  • Establish an industry group steering committee to facilitate further dialogue.
  1. Regulation and Red tape issues
  • Customs practices
  • Provision for circumstances whereby ship importation is not in the national interest
  • Introduce timeframe during which vessels in Australia will not be imported (eg 90 days)
  • Exemption from importation for vessels using Australian dry dock facilities (customs)
  • Coastal trading and ship registration
  • Remove the 5 voyage minimum to provide flexibility to the system
  • Reduce the eligibility requirements for entry to the Australian International Shipping Register (AISR) to 90 days international activity per 12 months
  • Allow access to the AISR to all vessels engaged in international activities
  • Remove the requirement for a collective agreement negotiated with a seafarers’ bargaining unit as a condition of registration, provided there is a statutory mechanism to ensure a collective agreement is in place prior to the ship commencing operations on the AISR.
  1. Tax
  • Expand the Seafarer’s tax offset:
  • Allow part years to be claimed
  • Make it available to all vessels
  • Make it available to all Australian domiciled employers of Australian sea- farers regardless of flag of the ship they are employed on.
  • Made available to all staff, regardless of rank or role
  • Introduce a complementary regime that allows individuals to manage own tax affairs
  • Extend the time to claim by 12-24 months
  • Corporate tax: Introduce deemed franking credits in respect of dividends to resident shareholders
  • Introduce dividend with holding tax emption in respect of dividends to non-resident shareholders.
  • Extend application of taxation structure to broader shipping industry including the offshore sector.
     4. Agreed on further discussion of:
  • Labour reform
  • Investment in infrastructure
  • Investment in workforce development, training and skills
  • Promoting a positive image of the industry.”said Senator Lambie
“It’s time that the liberal’s political game around our Shipping reform stopped. I’m glad that this secret Burnie Port deal between DP World, TasPorts and the Liberal Party has been announced. However, I’m disappointed that it’s just before Liberal shipping legislation vote is to be taken in the Senate.

You would have thought that if this deal is to be taken seriously – and not part of a political stunt the deal’s proponents would have at least asked me for a meeting and explained their plans? I’ll gladly meet with DP World’s representatives.

I think that they’ll find that their plans to invest in Burnie Port will still be able to proceed once the Parliament adopts a consensus shipping plan, which protects Australian jobs and will be finalised very soon.” said Senator Lambie.