Australia-Flagged Ships The Right Call To Ensure Critical Supplies
Australia’s only national shipping industry peak body has today welcomed the announcement by Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce to introduce measures to increase our nation’s sovereign maritime capability in times of crisis.
Maritime Industry Australia Limited (MIAL) CEO Teresa Lloyd said the Coalition’s commitment to arrest the decline of Australian flagged ships signals just how vital the industry is to our national security.
“For several years, we have been calling on both major parties to expand Australia’s commercial fleet above critical levels to ensure our country can receive critical supplies such as fuel and medicine,” Ms Lloyd said.
“In absence of having our own ships, we have come to rely heavily on overseas ships who are ultimately beholden to countries they are owned by. While we will always use foreign ships, we must also gain a foothold in the international commercial shipping sector.
“That’s why we need Australian flagged ships and that’s why today’s announcement by the Coalition is significant for our country, our security and our future.”
Ms Lloyd said for first time in Australian shipping history, we now have bi-partisan support on adjusting tax settings equal to those in other countries which will mean a level playing field for Australian ship owners.
“This finally makes it commercially viable for local ship owners to own and operate Australian flagged ships. It means more jobs, a stronger economy, and a safer Australia,” Ms Lloyd said.
“The changes announced are equally beneficial for both the primary and international shipping registers. This combination is critical for a country like Australia who is utterly reliant on maritime trade. Maximising the number of Australian ships is in our national interest to ensure we survive and thrive.”
Ms Lloyd said today’s announcement gives the industry the certainty and confidence to rebuild our domestic fleet which has fallen to just 13 commercial vessels.
“Securing our maritime domain means investing in our defence capability and also means an investment in building our sovereign commercial shipping capability,” Ms Lloyd said.
“With commitment now from the Coalition and ALP, we have the assurance that the commercial maritime industry is considered vital within our national security construct, and we will now have a level of self-reliance, and assurance that has declined over previous decades.”
MIAL and its 78 members stand ready to support the implementation of the proposed measures.
“This major step in the right direction will benefit everyone and ensure our national security is protected. We look forward to immediate action post May 21,” Ms Lloyd concluded.
Source: Maritime Industry Australia