Australian plans to tinker with cabotage will decimate number of local seafarers

Plans by Australian prime minister Tony Abbott to relax cabotage laws could see the local seafaring workforce contract by more than 90% to less than 100 seafarers, according to a new report by the Australia Institute.

Abbott’s Shipping Legislation Amendment Bill, due to be debated in parliament soon, has already attracted intense criticism from Australian trade unions. The Australia Institute claims if the bill passes the number of indigenous seafarers will drop from the current 1,177 to less than 100.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, under the proposed changes to the Coastal Trading Act, foreign-flagged ships with all foreign crews would be allowed to pay international wages – about a third of Australian pay – on domestic routes for up to half the year.




Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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