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Australian Merchant Mariners Are Asking To Be Considered Essential Workers

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September 3, 2021

Maritime Industry Australia Ltd (MIAL) joined Minister Gee, on Merchant Navy Day, to recognize the contribution of Australian merchant mariners of the past and the impact and sacrifice they made throughout wars and times of conflict.

MIAL also used today to recognize the contribution and sacrifice of today’s Australian seafarers – those battling border closures on a daily basis to get to and from work to keep essential shipping and maritime service working. Without their work ships would stop, ports would close, goods would not make it into the country and the resources sector would grind to a halt. Given the undeniable ‘essential service’ they provide it seems desperately unfair that Western Australia (WA) and, more recently Queensland (QLD), do not consider them essential workers and will not allow them to cross their borders to enter for work. Truck drivers and train drivers are OK, boat drivers are not.

MIAL calls on all States and the Northern Territory(NT) to ensure their border directions treat maritime crews as essential, as they do other freight providers, and facilitate their border crossings to get to and from work.

MIAL is also calling on the Government to consider the actions necessary to revive the Australian shipping
industry and secure the maritime capability and skills their nation has relied on in the past anddesperately needs in the future. Building an Australian shipping capability makes sense as part of the broader picture of ensuring Australian self-reliance, such as our investment in our inland rail.

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