Oz Labor party wants to start merchant fleet to create jobs
THE Australian Labor Party says that were it to come into power, it would develop a 'strategic shipping fleet' in order to address economic and security concerns about the nation's high dependence on foreign-flagged vessels
THE Australian Labor Party says that were it to come into power, it would develop a 'strategic shipping fleet' in order to address economic and security concerns about the nation's high dependence on foreign-flagged vessels.
If elected in May Labour would seek to create the fleet to bolster the local maritime workforce, secure critically important supplies in times of crisis and boost the number of Australian-flagged ships, reported The Sydney Morning Herald.
'It is a national disgrace that an island nation like Australia only has 14 flagged vessels, and it's in our national interest to fix this,' opposition leader Bill Shorten said in a statement.
'I am determined to revive shipping in this country. I will not let the Liberals and Nationals do to shipping what they have done to the car industry in Australia. It is important for jobs, it is important for our economy, and it's crucial for our national security. An island nation like Australia should have its own shipping fleet.'
The opposition says the fleet would likely comprise up to a dozen Australian-flagged and crewed vessels, including oil tankers, container ships and gas carriers. The ships would be privately owned and operated but could be requisitioned by the government in an emergency.