Conference Program

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Last updated 29 Jan 2024

Australia is a maritime nation. Our 60,000 kms of coastline connects us to the world and to each other. To build national resilience and secure our domestic and international supply lines we need a diverse, enduring, competitive, and sustainable maritime industry.     

In a time of great opportunity and transformation in the sector, MIAL’s Blueprint for a Maritime Nation conference will examine some of the critical elements in realising this vision over two days in May 2024. Building national resilience, and maximising the benefits of our existing and new marine industries, requires aggressive action to fortify our sovereign maritime capability in terms of assets and human capital.  

Importantly, through the 4th Maritime Decarbonisation Summit (Day 2), our conference will progress discussion on the most significant transformational change the shipping industry has faced in decades, in meeting expectations of a zero-carbon future. 

We are currently refining the conference program and securing authoritative speakers from Australia and beyond.

Draft conference program

13 May

Welcome Reception

14 May

Day 1

14 May

Gala Dinner

15 May

Day 2

Welcome Reception

Join us for a Welcome Drinks Reception to launch Blueprint for a Maritime Nation.

Commences: 6.30pm

Venue: Hilton Hotel, 190 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane

Day 1 is the National Maritime Capability and Resilience Conference.

Session 1 – Australia, a Maritime Nation 

  • Welcome and opening
  • Federal Government address
  • Federal Opposition address
  • Keynote address

Panel 1 – Australian strategic maritime capability, resilience and our place in the world

Recent years have demonstrated the strategic importance of a strong and enduring sovereign maritime industry for national defence and supply chain security. Panelists will articulate the pressing need for Australia to focus on reaffirming itself as a maritime nation.

Session 2 – Human capital, the cornerstone of a maritime nation

Panel 2 – Developing a skilled maritime workforce

The traditional Australian maritime training landscape presents challenges for employers, new entrants and those wishing to upskill. What lessons can we learn from other industries and nations and what is being done at both the strategic and practical level to address barriers. Should Australia pursue a Maritime Center of Excellence.

Panel 3 – Attracting and retaining a skilled workforce 

Most industries in Australia and around the world are facing worker shortages, but never before has the Australian shipping industry faced such an acute skills crisis as we do now. Tragically, this was predicted, and the reasons are complex. We must now focus on actively promoting the divers and rewarding careers in the sector to ensure we attract the best and brightest from all walks of life.

Session 3 – The Australian blue economy: new and emerging economic activity in our maritime nation

Panel 4 – Capitalising on Australia’s natural advantage

Australian maritime activity is diverse, and as the world’s largest island continent, Australia is blessed with an incredibly large ocean estate and the natural resource endowment that brings – fisheries, tourism, oil gas and renewable resource extraction, along with regulation and scientific research underpins the benefits this large ocean estate brings to the nation. Building national maritime capability and resilience is critical to ensuring these benefits are maximised and lasting.

Panel 5 – Offshore wind, the changing face of Australian offshore activity

Australia is on the verge of an offshore resource activity revolution, with offshore wind developments planned for the Victorian, NSW, Tasmanian, SA and WA coasts. Development of the resource is not without challenges as supply chain and workforce bottlenecks are foreshadowed. What is clear is that to maximise local content in construction and maintenance, work needs to begin now to build sovereign capability.

Session 4 – Creating the business environment to sustain and future proof a maritime nation

Panel 6 – Policy certainty and a competitive business environment

Australian shipping has been in decline for decades. High labour costs and gradual withdrawal of supportive policies since the 90’s has made it nearly impossible for Australian shipping to compete on cost basis. As a result our sovereign maritime capability has eroded, leaving us vulnerable to supply chain shock and the critical skills shortage we are currently experiencing. Attracting investment through stable, and internationally competitive regulatory settings and a workable industrial relations environment is critical to rebuilding the industry.

Panel 7 – Preparing for the energy transition

The Australian economy must rapidly decarbonise, which requires a decoupling of economic growth from fossil fuels. While transport contributes about 20% of Australia’s total emissions, maritime is a tiny proportion of this. While solutions are found for other modes, the proportional contribution of maritime will grow – with no clear decarbonisation pathway in sight – particularly for large ships. In preparation for day 2, the panel will discuss the challenges and opportunities that exist as we decarbonise our domestic economy.

Gala Dinner

Join us for a special Gala Dinner following the opening day of the conference at which MIAL will celebrate 125 years of service to shipping.

Commences: 6.30pm

Venue: Howard Smith Wharves, Brisbane

Day 2 is the 4th Maritime Decarbonisation Summit.

Session 1 – Decarbonising Australian maritime  

  • Welcome and opening
  • Federal Government address
  • State Government address
  • Keynote address

Panel 1 – Progress on high level work, International Maritime Organisation progress and outlook

In recent years there has been significant progress made on climate change regulation at the International Maritime Organisation – particularly considering the usual pace of rulemaking. Working alongside the IMO great deal of work has gone into feasibility and prefeasibility of green shipping corridors. This panel session will provide an update on work thus far and chart the future direction.

Session 2 – Progress on New Energy Generation and Uptake in Australia

Panel 2 – The Australian landscape: challenges and opportunities

Australia has a wealth of renewable energy generation potential. Major green methanol and hydrogen production projects have succeeded in attracting the necessary investment to begin demonstration and pilot projects. But reaching full commercial production, at a scale that could provide supply certainty to the shipping industry is not without its challenges.

Panel 3 – Industry progress

In the absence of a strong imperative to do so, the Australian Maritime industry is already implementing the low hanging fruit – energy efficiency technology, retrofitting and electrifying and adopting new technology where available.

Session 3 – The enablers of decarbonisation

Panel 4 – Regulation as an enabler

It’s not often that industry asks for more regulation, but in the context of decarbonisation, regulation plays a critical role in leveling the playing field, setting the ground rules and building the required integrity in calculations on lifecycle emissions to ensure genuine emissions reductions. Regulation will be critical to maritime decarbonisation.

Panel 5 – Finance as an enabler

The Poseidon Principles were launched in 2019 to establish a framework for climate disclosure in the ship financing industry. So far, 34 major ship financing organisations have committed to the Poseidon Principles. The integration of climate goals into financing decisions is growing and driving some positive carbon reduction outcomes. What are some of the barriers to financing green energy projects – is guaranteed offtake a prerequisite?

Session 4 – Progress on decarbonising Australian maritime

Panel 6 – Safety considerations, social license and and training the workforce

Generation, safe storage and handling requirements of new energy are raising a range of safety, social license and training considerations. Seafarers will need to be trained to safely handle new types of fuels. To facilitate access ports will need to store and provide the infrastructure to supply hazardous substances, like ammonia, requiring carefully managed community education and consultation to obtain the necessary social licence.

Panel 7 – Commonwealth policy, regulation and first mover support

An overview of the Maritime Emissions Reduction National Action Plan and how it feeds into other commonwealth policy and regulatory emissions reductions activities, ensuring cross portfolio consultation, engagement. What is the Queensland Government doing to incentivise maritime decarbonisation and support first movers and innovation?

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2024 Important dates

  • 6 May – Registration closes
  • 13 May – Welcome Drinks Reception
  • 14 May – Day 1: National Maritime Capability and Resilience Conference + Gala Dinner
  • 15 May – Day 2: 4th Maritime Decarbonisation Summit



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