Australia will not be changing its cabotage laws after all in an embarrassing set back for the government.
The federal senate today rejected proposed shipping legislation that would allow foreign-flagged vessels more access to Australian ports.
The amendments would have renamed the Coastal Trading (Revitalising Australian Shipping) Act 2012 to the Coastal Trading Act 2015 and replaced a three-tiered licensing system with a single permit, allowing both Australian and foreign-flagged vessels to access Australian ports for 12 months.
It would have allowed foreign vessels working between Australian ports for more than six months per year to pay foreign wages to their crew.
The senate vote is a huge victory for the nation’s maritime unions, which had been campaigning hard to ensure the law change did not happen.