Commenting on the raid on the CSL Melbourne in Newcastle today, ITF seafarers’ section chair Dave Heindel said: “This raid was an error of truly national dimensions. The Australian government seems hell-bent on stripping away the very protections that make Australia the nation it is, and in doing so is becoming an international embarrassment in an industry seeking higher standards of governance and accountability.”
He continued: “Coming on the heels of the dawn raid removal of the crew of the Portland last week, this is another example of the Australian government shooting itself in the foot. It is beginning to look almost like it wants to punish the Australian people, by removing their jobs and national shipping industry in favour of dodging tax and national labour standards.”
The Melbourne is the latest victim of the undermining of Australia’s cabotage protection laws. The ITF has repeatedly made the case for keeping such legislation. As the ITF cabotage taskforce has stated, 47 countries have some form of cabotage law because it is good for their economies. With a thriving maritime industry, people work in good quality jobs, consume goods and boost the economy.
Failing to protect cabotage undermines sovereignty and has national security implications. It also has serious economic implications for maritime regions and communities.
Mr Heindel is leading the seafarers group at the high level meeting at the ILO in Geneva consolidating the ground-breaking Maritime Labour Convention, 2008 for international seafarers. “This latest debacle from the Australian shipping industry will not be lost on anyone there,” he said.