More Than 90% of Australian Seafaring Jobs At Risk Under Cabotage Reform Plan, Research Shows

Photo: Shutterstock/Gordon Bell
Photo: Shutterstock/Gordon Bell

 

More than 90% of Australian seafarers working in the domestic trade will lose their jobs under the Abbott government’s plan to reform Australia’s newly-adopted cabotage laws, according to a new report from the independent think tank The Australia Institute.

The Australian Government, under Prime Minister Tony Abbott, announced its new plan for coastal shipping in May, which included changes that would dismantle a comprehensive reform package delivered by the previous government in 2012, known as the Coastal Trading (Revitalising Australian Shipping Act) 2012. The act created a level playing field for Australia’s domestic shipping and protects local Australian ships and crews from foreign Flags of Convenience (FOC).

According to the research from the Australia Institute, less than 100 seafarers would remain employed out of a current workforce of 1177, representing about 93%, if Abbott’s plan passes parliament, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

The research echoes concerns raised by International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), which said the reforms risks thousands of domestic maritime jobs.

The 2012 package included support for Australian shipping companies, including tax breaks and training subsidies, as well as a requirement that foreign-flagged vessels pay Australian level wages when working domestic trade sectors.