The day of action is organised by ITF to mark that the future of Australia’s domestic shipping industry is hanging in the balance at the Federal Election.
Generally, Australia's shipping industry faces challenges, as only 8% of Australia's 5646 seafarers and onshore workers are under 30 years of age, while 52% are older than 46. This is an example that the Australian navy is in great need of more seafarers.
In the meantime, ITF exposed in February an underpayment incident that took place in Australia, concerning the crew of a bulk carrier claiming to have no food and no onboard wages, and being fed on a $4 food budget per day.
In light not only the above but additional incidents, Australian seafarers will also hold a series of events in a number of cities and regional centres, sending a clear message that to save Australian shipping, the country needs to change the rules, and to do that voters need to change the government.
ITF Cabotage Task Force chair Jim Given commented
The current conservative government in Australia has taken an active position not to support the domestic shipping industry that has resulted in the decline of Australian flag vessels and the loss of thousands of Australian seafaring jobs.
He continued that the opposition of Labor Party announced that are in favour of Australian seafarers and promised to implement a coastal trade policy with an Australian strategic fleet if elected. This is not only good news for the MUA but good news for the cabotage fight globally as it will be another example to help guide the worlds’ policy makers.
In addition, Paddy Crumlin, Maritime Union of Australia national secretary noted that the election was a referendum on the future of Australia’s coastal shipping industry, with the outcome to set a precedent for other nations.
The Liberals and Nationals have driven a race to the bottom on the Australian coast, with highly-skilled Australian seafarers replaced by flag of convenience vessels registered in notorious tax havens and crewed by exploited foreign visa workers paid as little as $2 per hour...You can’t have a strong, secure economy if the nation is completely reliant on foreign vessels to provide our fuel, bring in our goods, carry our exports, or move products around the coastline.
... Mr Crumlin reported.