Flying the flag for Queensland shipping

October 27, 2020

A re-elected Palaszczuk Government will ensure our ports remain in public hands and will commit $21 million over two years to create maritime jobs in a revitalised Queensland coastal shipping industry.

Transport and Main Roads Minister, Mark Bailey, said establishing a new shipping service between Townsville and Brisbane would be prioritised under the plan.

“Labor is backing the economic potential of Queensland’s 16 trading ports,” the Minister said.

“The pandemic has shown that our long-term success will depend on our ability to build local capacity in our state’s economy without relying on international companies.

“Supporting maritime jobs to strengthen our local supply chain capacity means Queensland is more resilient and less likely to be affected if international supply chains experience a major disruption, like we saw with the first global COVID-19 outbreak.”

Member for Townsville, Scott Stewart, said the LNP under Campbell Newman and Deb Frecklington spent $100 million trying to privatise public assets including the Port of Townsville, threatening jobs and regional economic growth.

“We’ve kept Queensland’s ports in public hands to grow domestic and international trade to support the state’s economy,” Mr Stewart said.

“Now we’re focusing on increasing domestic shipping along 7000kms of Queensland coastline to create new regional jobs that can support our economic recovery.”

Mr Bailey said the COVID 19 health crisis had highlighted the risks foreign crewed ships posed to Australia, with crew members testing positive on several occasions.

“We need to work with the Federal Government to achieve a better balance between foreign and locally-crewed vessels and improve our resilience during global pandemics and natural disasters,” he said.

“More use of Queensland crews has safety benefits as well, with better trained and experienced crew operating in the area.
“The Federal Government has responsibility for interstate and international ships, and we will continue to work with them to improve safety but we all saw what can go wrong when the foreign crewed Shen Neng 1 ran aground in 2010 causing significant damage to the reef.”

Mr Bailey said Labor established a Maritime Jobs Taskforce earlier this year to investigate opportunities to grow the state’s maritime industry.

“A multi-purpose container ship can carry the equivalent of 360 trucks packed with product,” Mr Bailey said.

“Making better use of coastal shipping gives businesses more transport options and can improve road safety on the Bruce highway and other regional roads too.

“To do that, we will provide incentives to companies to establish a regular Brisbane to Townsville coastal shipping service using Queensland-based crews.

“With Labor’s support, we can make Queensland a maritime job leader.

“A key part of our plan will be growing skills, through maritime cadetships and training, with $1 million to support additional training for Queenslanders to enter the industry or to upskill.”

Mr Bailey said a re-elected Palaszczuk Government will also prioritise land-side investments in equipment such as porter cranes at Queensland’s publicly owned ports.

“Queenslanders know we are at our strongest when we work together and Queensland has a proud and remarkable maritime history,” Mr Bailey said.

The maritime jobs initiative will be funded out of the existing port budget and is expected to initially generate 40 new ongoing and secure jobs in the first two years.

Government owned ports had revenues of over $760 million in 2019/20.