THE federal government has urged all parties in Sydney’s waterfront industrial dispute to work together on a quick resolution to minimise any impact on workers, freight and the nation.

Industrial action has been blamed for delays and congestion around Port Botany in recent days and weeks.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack. Credit: Ian Ackerman/DCN

Deputy Prime Minister and infrastructure minister Michael McCormack said the government understood how frustrated Australian shippers and transport operators were with increases in stevedore fees and charges, but actions disrupting shipping operations further were not the solution.

“Australia relies on shipping with 99% of our trade moved by sea, so it is absolutely vital we see a quick resolution achieved between all parties.”

“During this pandemic, the entire nation has seen just how much we rely on our freight industry to keep shelves stocked and our economy running and how tirelessly all operators – including shippers – have been working to make this happen,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

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Trade minister Simon Birmingham said the COVID-19 pandemic was already placing immense strain on global supply chains.

“Our exporters are already having to grapple with significant pressures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and now is the worst possible time for such actions that only compound these pressures,” Senator Birmingham said.

“It’s hard enough for our farmers and businesses right now and the last thing they need is further uncertainty and delays in getting their product out of Australia.”

Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations, Christian Porter said the government encouraged all parties to follow the workplace laws and agree to contribute to higher productivity.

“The government expects all parties to comply with Australian workplace laws, to bargain in good faith and make agreements that contribute to higher productivity,” the Attorney-General said.

“The independent Fair Work Commission is available to assist parties when there is a dispute during enterprise bargaining and the Government encourages parties to take advantage of this if they need to.”

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