Ports Australia has stressed the importance of safeguarding the future of Australian shipping and its flow on effects on our ability to transport freight around the country.
The organisation has welcomed discussions by parliamentary leaders on the issue.
Ports Australia’s Chief Executive, Mike Gallacher, said that Australia’s current maritime shipping position is unsustainable and a potential risk to the nation’s economy.
“Australia has a freight tsunami approaching with a freight task that is doubling and a population that is growing beyond all forecasts, we know the current national infrastructure is struggling to cope and we know the planned infrastructure won’t be enough,” Mr Gallacher said.
“Improved coastal shipping conditions and increasing the number of Australian flagged vessels are certainly one way of unlocking the potential of Australia’s blue highway and of providing an opportunity for young Australians to enter the maritime sector.
“But coastal shipping and a national fleet are parts of the bigger puzzle of the best way to move freight in, out and around Australia.”
Mr Gallacher cited the congestion, liveability and connectivity of Australian cities as critical issues in upcoming 2019 elections.
He noted that they are all linked to the ability to move freight efficiently in, out and around the country.
“We need rail, road and shipping all working together to achieve a positive national outcome, and all three have a role to play,” he said.
“Australia’s blue highway is not just free to use but connects to most of the population providing an opportunity to relieve the burdens on congested roads and rail.
“Ports are Australia’s gateways to the world and facilitate almost all of Australia’s physical trade. Our ports need experienced mariners to continue to ensure Australia’s trade transpires effectively and without incident.”