ATTORNEY-General Christian Porter says he is intervening in the Fair Work Commission appeal brought by stevedore DPWA against two weeks of protected industrial action by the Maritime Union at Port Botany.
Union action is expected to start on Friday 18 September and involve a series of work bans.
“I have decided that I will intervene in the matter before the Fair Work Commission concerning the Sydney waterfront dispute,” Mr Porter told the press.
“The decision to intervene reflects the potential wide community impact of the dispute on the delivery of goods and services across Australia.”
The Attorney-General and ministerial colleagues Deputy PM Michael McCormack and trade minister Simon Birmingham last weekend called on all parties to work together towards a quick resolution of the issues.
“To date this has not occurred. DP World lodged proceedings in the FWC earlier this week. The Government can apply to intervene in the proceedings and provide relevant information to the Commission as it considers the facts before it,” Mr Porter said.
“Australia relies on shipping for 99% of its trade so it is vital, particularly given the impacts of COVID-19 on the economy and the critical important of ensuring supply chains, that we see a quick resolution to this dispute.”
The Fair Work hearing is set for this Saturday.
Industrial action is already occurring at Patrick Terminals and Hutchison at Port Botany and the fear is stoppages at DPWA will only exacerbate matters.
Freight and Trade Alliance director and Australian Peak Shippers Association secretariat Paul Zalai said the Fair Work Commission “must provide a decisive outcome”.
“Vessels are now by-passing Port Botany discharging goods interstate and leaving importers to organise and pay massive logistics costs to move freight across state borders back to Sydney,” Mr Zalai said.