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Government backs committee on coastal shipping changes

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“COASTAL shipping reform is still in the air, with the government recently releasing a response to a report on the Coastal Trading (Revitalising Australian Shipping) Amendment Bill 2017.

The Bill is currently before Parliament.

The government’s response to the report from the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee (published in December) was positive; the government supports the Committee’s recommendation that the Bill be passed.

Proposed by the then-infrastructure and transport minister Darren Chester, the amendments aim to cut so-called red tape that is said to hinder the carriage of domestic cargo on ships.

Among the proposals are removal of the five-voyage minimum requirement to apply for a temporary licence, streamline the process for making changes to temporary licences and amend voyage notification requirements, among others.

While the Opposition’s response to the Committee’s report claims the reforms in the Bill would only accelerate decline of Australian shipping, the government said the Bill would not substantially change the existing cabotage regime.

Ports Australia chief executive Michael Gallacher welcomed the government’s decision to support the recommendation of the Committee to pass the Bill.

“This decision by the government is a clear indication that the issue of coastal shipping is one with momentum and a reform that the country needs,” he said.

“Coastal Shipping will benefit Australians both regionally and in the city, the reform has the support of both business and now also government.”

Mr Gallacher continued, saying that if the cost of living in Australia was to remain as low as possible, there needs to be “smart reforms” that reduce red tape and allow businesses small and large to provide consumers with more for less.

“Coastal shipping is a smart reform, it will open up our blue highway which costs nothing to build, run or maintain allowing Australia’ supply chain to be more flexible and carry more capacity for less,” he said.

“The reforms are a step in the right direction, but there is more work to be done before the full benefits of coastal shipping and Australia’s blue highway can be realised for Australians.

“It is our hope that now with the government’s support the Senate can look at the merits of this reform for the supply chain and the benefits it will bring for Australians and pass these amendments without delay,” Mr Gallacher said.”

Article Credit of – The Daily Cargo News; July 2nd 2018

 

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