Independent Senator for Tasmania Jacqui Lambie will attend the Coastal Trading meeting or shipping conference in Melbourne tomorrow to build on the group work she has carried out previously in September last year – in an effort to produce a solution to properly remedy, the Australian shipping and maritime crisis.

“ Unfortunately, the Liberal / National government have deliberately lied to the Australian people when they presented their Coastal Shipping legislation to our Parliament late last year.  If the Coalition’s legislation would have passed the Senate – then the destruction of Australia’s home-grown maritime industry and thousands of local jobs, would have been guaranteed,” said Senator Lambie.

“Essentially, the Liberal’s solution to our maritime crisis was to register all our trading ships in dodgy foreign countries, sack all the Aussie maritime workers and replace them with cheap overseas Labour.  That fact became clear when I spoke with ship owner and cruise operator Bill Milby from North Star Cruises (see here)

And that was never going to happen on my watch – especially while there are better solutions being put forward by major stakeholders in our Maritime Industry.” said Senator Lambie.

“Since the last shipping conference in early September last year, I’ve continued meetings with a variety of Australian Maritime industry stakeholders including Tasmania’s SeaRoad CEO Michael Easy, yesterday in Devonport.  Both Michael and I agree that any shipping reform plan for Australia must protect our national interest and have a broad consensus approval from all the major stakeholders in Australia’s Maritime Industry – otherwise, business will not invest if there is a risk that a change of government will produce a change in shipping policy,’’ Senator Lambie said.

Senator Lambie pictured with SeaRoad CEO Michael Easy

“The shipping conference tomorrow, is a great opportunity to create a workable consensus plan to truly reform Australian shipping while protecting our national interest and Australian maritime jobs.  One of the key questions all Australians have to answer when considering our maritime crisis is: Do you want an Australian shipping industry with highly skilled Australian workers and flagships?

“My answer will always be: Yes.  Unfortunately, the Coalition’s proposed Coastal Shipping legislation last year proved they are prepared to sacrifice Australian maritime jobs and national shipping security on the altar of free market economics – when the opposite of a free market exists in world shipping today.

“There are many sensible western countries around the world that are prepared to acknowledge that world shipping markets are corrupt, heavily subsidised, distorted and certainly not free.  So those countries take prudent measures and protect their nation’s merchant marine, maritime workers’ jobs and skills – because they know history shows that in times of world conflict those nations become less safe – without a healthy home-grown shipping and maritime industry.  Australia must learn and act on those lessons and foster a healthy home-grown shipping and maritime industry,” said Senator Lambie.