Coastal Trading Green Paper

The need for certainty and stability of coastal trading policy settings has been the catalyst for an all-inclusive series of industry meetings. From February – April 2016 a series of meetings were held to discuss the coastal trading issues affecting specific sectors within the Australian coastal trading sector. Those meetings were as follows (a list of participants is contained at Annex A):

  • 15 February Container
  • 15 February Ro-Ro, Heavy Lift, Break Bulk
  • 16 February Bass Strait (non-bulk)
  • 10 March Regional services
  • 21 March Dry Bulk
  • 22 March Liquid & Gas Bulk
  • 19 April Cruise / tourism

These meetings have taken place in the context of a desire for change expressed by a range of stakeholders: providers of shipping services, both Australian and foreign; users of shipping services; maritime workers; the major political parties; and a number of independent Senators and MPs.

This paper has been prepared by Teresa Lloyd acting in the capacity of convener of those meetings and is not intended to be a record or minutes of the meetings. Rather the paper contains the major elements, ideas and concepts that arose from those meetings that the author considers would form the basis of a holistic policy proposal. Broad political support is required on this issue if any policy is to be successful and the proposal contained herein is intended to meet that objective.

A draft of this paper has been shared with the participants from all the sector specific meetings except the expedition cruise sector, to test the integrity of the paper as a reflection of the discussions that were held. Participants were not asked to agree to or support the paper. All but two participants (noted via * in the list at the Annex A) confirmed that the discussions they participated in were reflected in the paper. The paper does not make any proposal that arose from the meeting involving the expedition cruise sector and for that reason the paper has not been previously circulated to participants at that meeting.

Executive Summary

The proposition outlined in this paper provides the following:

  • Removes the regulatory burden involved in obtaining temporary coastal trading licenses.
  • Retains the structure for differential treatment of GL, TGL and TL vessels.
  • Introduces the potential for increased Australian content across the broadest possible maritime activity areas in Australia.
  • Levels the playing field for Australian-based ship operators vs foreign-based ship operators.
  • Removes the Fair Work Act Part B requirement as a payment to foreign seafarers and proposes an alternative that provides far greater benefits to Australia.
  • Contemplates the concept of a ‘Strategic Fleet’ – vessels that offer strategic national interest benefits to the nation.
  • Calls for the development of infrastructure needed to encourage the establishment of dedicated coastal ro-ro services for containerised cargo/trucks.
  • Recognises large cruise ship operations as being suitable for continued exemption from coastal trading provisions.
  • Isolates the port-to-port pairing aspect of coastal trading regulation as being a feature that does not work for all sectors or in all instances.
  • Identifies the expedition cruise ship sector as requiring further work to determine appropriate settings.

    Note: This paper is not necessarily the view of Maritime Industry Australia Ltd (MIAL), of which Ms Lloyd was the CEO at the time of publication.

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