WA supply chain – off the rails and onto ships
MIAL supports the Government’s move to assist the East-West freight trade and secure supplies for West Australians via their temporary changes to the Coastal Trading Act announced yesterday (Coastal Trading (Revitalising Australian Shipping) Act 2012 Section 11 exemption for voyages by container and roll-on roll-off vessels to Western Australia until 31 March 2022).
These are sensible, pragmatic measures to encourage operators who are not already at maximum capacity to make space available quickly and without complex administrative overheads.
But the benefit of shipping needs to be seen beyond the current emergency situation. Shipping is the cleanest, most efficient form of long-haul transport. Australia could be a lot more resilient and self-reliant with a fraction of the attention and funding afforded to land transport options.
“Shipping should be a primary mode of transport around our coastline, not an avenue of last resort,” said Teresa Lloyd, CEO of Maritime Industry Australia Ltd.
“This is an opportunity for the Morrison Government to identify shipping as a critical transport mode to secure our supply chains, both domestically and internationally, and put in place policies to support Australian shipping businesses to take control and perform more of the freight task.”
“The support the shipping industry needs is a fraction of the investment that is required to secure our transnational rail lines. It doesn’t have to be an either/or situation. Australia should have capability on road, on rail and at sea.”
Maritime Industry Australia Ltd has a maritime resilience masterplan already developed with sensible, practical solutions to secure reasonable shipping services to, from and around the country to secure our national interests for years to come.
Investment in the shipping industry cannot wait any longer. The 2022 federal budget needs to provide an allocation for the investment in Australian shipping capability.
As an island nation, ships must form part of Australia’s critical infrastructure. Our maritime sector deserves to be fostered and secured in order that it can serve the Australian community.