MIAL Urges Swift Action on Strategic Fleet Recommendations
The release today of the Strategic Fleet Taskforce Report and Government response is a welcome step towards securing Australia’s sovereign maritime capability, and our future as a Maritime Nation.
The report articulates the challenging environment faced by Australian shipping businesses and the impact on national resilience of the decline in Australian shipping including the critical shortage of maritime skills. The report acknowledges the cost differential between Australian and foreign shipping that must be addressed, as has been identified by other nations who recognise the national economic and community benefit of a shipping industry, if we are to build our capability in a sustainable way.
The recommendations of the report include vital measures that, if fully resourced and implemented, have the potential to level the playing field for Australian shipping businesses to compete with foreign shipping and the long-term policy stability required to attract investment.
MIAL CEO Angela Gillham, who was a member of the taskforce and contributed to the report, says:
“MIAL welcomes the release of the report and the Government’s response as a first step to delivering an election commitment to support Australia’s resilience, and that of our Pacific neighbours, during natural disasters, conflict, or supply chain disruptions. MIAL and its members will continue to work collaboratively with the Minister on implementation, including to confirm a timeline to provide certainty for industry.
“Australia has a significant international and domestic freight task which is growing; expanding and diversifying activity in the offshore sector, including in offshore wind; and strong demand for maritime skills across the economy. We are facing a major deficit in our ability as a nation to fulfil this potential and this requires a brave and swift policy response.
“The gradual decline in our sovereign fleet over the past two decades means Australia is almost entirely reliant on foreign shipping. Recent supply chain shocks, natural disasters, and the critical maritime skills shortage have all demonstrated the need for the increased national resilience that an enhanced sovereign shipping industry will bring.
“MIAL is pleased that the Government has responded to the recommendations in the Strategic Fleet Taskforce Report and, while we would always welcome a more urgent approach, the response provides a positive pathway forward and restates the Government’s commitment to securing our maritime capability through the Strategic Fleet Policy.
“Australia is a Maritime Nation, but without urgent action to promote a strong sovereign merchant maritime capability, we are not able to capitalise on the natural advantages that this brings.
“The hard work has just begun. We look forward to working closely with the Government to prioritise and rapidly progress the work required to implement the recommendations of the Taskforce.”
Angela Gillham, MIAL CEO
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