Message from Tim Higgs
Coastal Trading (Revitalising Australian Shipping) Amendment Bill 2017
In September last year Darren Chester the then Minister for Infrastructure and Transport introduced into the Federal Parliament the above Bill. I commented at the time that this latest attempt by the Government to amend our coastal trading laws would not put one extra Australian ship on our coast or lead to one additional job for Australian mariners.
Over the New Year break Minister Chester was dumped and replaced by the Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, as Transport Minister.
We have been closely monitoring the progress of the Bill. To date it hasn’t been debated in the House of Representatives. While the reforms seem to have had some priority with Minister Chester, they clearly don’t with Minister Joyce who is yet to even mention shipping or coastal trade in any public arena. We have requested a meeting with Minister Joyce but our approaches have gone unanswered.
The Bill is behind around 40 other Bills of the Government on the Parliament’s notice paper and would appear to be unlikely to come on in the Reps this side of the May Budget.
You’ll be aware that Deputy Prime Minister Joyce has other matters on his mind at the moment and is taking a week’s leave from Monday. It’s up in the air if he’ll retain his leadership position in the National Party and if he stays on the Government’s front bench.
In the coming weeks I suspect we will be seeking a meeting with our 3rd Transport Minister this year (or Darren Chester is resurrected). Whatever happens, the AMOU will as always be advocating the best for our membership. I’ll keep you updated on our progress.
Tim Higgs, President