INDUSTRY bodies Ports Australia and Maritime Industry Australia have welcoming the announcement of the Australian Labor Party’s shipping policy.

Ports Australia welcomed the emphasis on training while MIAL was positive on the theme of tax incentives.

“Without the people with the technical understanding to operate these ports 98% of our physical trade is in danger,” said PA chief executive Mike Gallacher regarding maritime skills.

“This represents our economy, our way of life and our national security,” he said.

“Without intervention, Australian shipping will disappear and gone with that industry will be our ability to train Australians will the skills to run some of our most nationally significant infrastructure, our Ports.”

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Mr Gallacher said ports were major employers of Australians with maritime skills and there was currently a national and international skills shortage.

“Over 60% of skilled people in the sector are over 45 while the number aged under 30 is reducing. Ports around the country, particularly regional Ports, are struggling to recruit adequately skilled people for specific roles,” he said.

Mr Gallacher said more emphasis was needed on the so-called “blue highway” given just 15% of the domestic freight task was moved by ship.

“Ports Australia have done extensive work on the issue and look forward to helping the next government find a solution to what is fast becoming a national crisis,” he said.

MIAL chief executive Teresa Lloyd said the announcement by Mr Albanese “was very welcome”.

“Australia must create an internationally competitive environment for maritime and shipping businesses and workers,” Ms Lloyd said.

MIAL is to release a comparison of maritime-related policies announced by the two major parties in coming days.

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