Bret Whiteley left red faced by Liberal backflip on Shipping Laws

Following a policy backflip by the new Liberal Minister responsible for Coastal Shipping Darren Chester - Independent JLN Senator for Tasmania Jacqui Lambie has called on the Liberal member for Braddon Brett Whitely - to apologise to the 400 maritime workers who would have lost their jobs if the old, unfair plan for Coastal Shipping was put in place.

“It’s clear that the Liberal party has left Mr. Whiteley red-faced - after media reports indicate that the government has abandoned their efforts to impose unfair coastal shipping laws on the Parliament, which would have caused the loss of at least 400 local maritime jobs in Tasmania,” said Senator Lambie.

“ Mr. Whiteley and his Liberal colleagues have caused unnecessary worry and harm to those 400 maritime workers and their families – while the government pushed for unfair changes to coastal shipping - that the Liberals have now walked away from.  The least Mr. Whiteley can do is to say sorry,” said Senator Lambie.

“If I had bowed to political pressure and the misinformation from Mr. Whitley - and failed to block the Liberals’ changes to our shipping laws in the Senate - a fatal blow would have been dealt to Australia’s Shipping industry while the security risk to our nation would have been significantly increased.

I’m encouraged that the regional media has reported that:

As part of the government's consultation efforts, Minister Chester's office has met with three maritime unions, plus Shipping Australia Limited, MIAL, and representatives from the manufacturing, petroleum, cruise and yacht charter industries….

… because this is exactly what I’ve done for the last 8 months – while encouraging the Liberals to do the same. Finally, the new minister has listened to my call and ignored the ignorant and dangerous advice from the likes of Mr. Whiteley.” said Senator Lambie.

The only way we can create an efficient, competitive and secure Australian Shipping Industry where Australian jobs are protected is by creating an entirely new bill built on a political and shipping industry - consensus agreement.” said Senator Lambie.




Attachment 1

Maritime workers describe the increased security risk from Overseas Maritime workers to Senator Lambie.

30sec Video

Attachment 2

New hope for Australian shipping as minister flags review

Owen Jacques | 14th May 2016 6:00 AM

THE Federal Government is signalling it may abandon reforms to Australian shipping trumpeted by former deputy prime minister Warren Truss.

His successor as infrastructure minister, Darren Chester, is reconsidering the legislation, having begun a "comprehensive review" into the current and proposed laws after taking on Mr Truss's portfolio in mid-February.

Mr Truss's reforms were rejected when they went before the Senate last year.

The changes are expected to deliver a fatal blow to Australia's shipping industry by allowing international ships crewed by foreign workers to compete against local firms.

Maritime Industry Australia Ltd chief Teresa Lloyd - whose group represents Australian ship owners - said if the reforms had passed, "I very much doubt there would have been any Australian shipping left".

Opposition infrastructure spokesman Anthony Albanese said any reforms involving foreign ships and crews needed to consider threats to national security.

In February, Australian Regional Media discovered that a Filipino captain wanted for questioning over two fatalities on his former vessel had been working for eight months aboard a ship operating between Gladstone and Weipa.

He was subsequently subpoenaed by Border Force officers.

A Senate inquiry into international shipping has called on the government to review "potential security risks" posed by foreign-flagged ships.

"It's one of the reasons why you would insist on it being in the national interest to have an Australian shipping industry," Mr Albanese said.

"At a time when the government seeks to prioritise national security issues, it has been oblivious to issues relating to the maritime sector."

A spokeswoman for Mr Chester said the government's approach to national transport security was "robust".

Since the bills' failure to pass, MIAL has begun working with sections of the maritime industry to carve out "middle ground" reforms.

As part of the government's consultation efforts, Minister Chester's office has met with three maritime unions, plus Shipping Australia Limited, MIAL and representatives from the manufacturing, petroleum, cruise and yacht charter industries.

It is unclear whether Minister Chester will attempt to amend the 2015 reforms or draft an entirely new bill.

Ms Lloyd said a set of changes that were "completely new and re-cast" would have the best chance of success.

"I would be very keen to hear the government has moved away from that legislation and is looking for something fresh," she said.

A spokeswoman for Minister Chester said while the government was in caretaker mode, he would consider the findings of MIAL and others.

She said the government was committed to reforming coastal shipping laws.