AUSTRALIA will seek re-election to the International Maritime Organization’s Council for the 2022-23 biennium.

Deputy prime minister and minister for infrastructure, transport and regional development Michael McCormack said the prosperity of Australia – one of the founding members of the IMO – relies on shipping.

“As the world’s largest bulk exporter and with our resources and agricultural exports helping build, fuel and feed the world, Australia has a strong claim for re-election,” Mr McCormack said.

“Re-election for the 2022-23 biennium of council will ensure Australia’s continued influence in the activities and decisions of the IMO which are of significant national interest to our country. That would mean the continuation of our work for a more transparent, efficient and innovative IMO and will ensure we have the opportunities to continue advocating for a sustainable shipping industry well into the future.”

Mr McCormack said Australia’s re-election would allow us to continue to be a strong voice for our region at the IMO.

“We have championed organisational reform initiatives to strengthen the institution and make it more balanced, fair and inclusive for all members,” he said.

“Australia supports a bigger voice at the IMO for Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries. We strengthen regional maritime capability by funding scholarships, providing maritime technical support and advocating for digital participation at IMO meetings to ensure access for all member states – particularly through these difficult times of COVID-19.”

Minister for foreign affairs Marise Payne said Australia had contributed to the IMO since its inception and had earned a reputation for being able to work across borders with all member states to achieve fair and sustainable decisions.

“IMO outcomes are vital to Australia’s interests, particularly to ensure economic protections for Australia’s vast shipping exports,” Ms Payne said.

“Our participation on the council helps us shape standards for international trade and sea transport, which underpin our modern economy and ensure Australian businesses have a level playing field.”

Ms Payne said re-election would allow Australia to continue building on decades of collaboration that has resulted in significant steps forward environmentally and economically for Australia and its regional partners.

“While we have achieved a lot to date, Australia has much more to contribute as a member of the IMO Council. We look forward to a successful election campaign for 2022-23,” Ms Payne said.

The IMO Council is responsible for supervising the work of the organisation. The council has three categories:

  • Category A comprises 10 states with the largest interest in providing international shipping services. These include, for the 2020-21 biennium China, Greece, Italy, Japan, Norway, Panama, Russian Federation, South Korea, the UK and the US.
  • Category B of the IMO Council, to which Australia seeks re-election, comprises 10 seats for countries with the largest interest in international seaborne trade. For the current biennium, these countries include: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands, Spain and the UAE.
  • Category C includes 20 states, not elected to category A or B, that have special interests in maritime transport or navigation and whose election to the council would ensure all major geographic areas are represented. For the current biennium, these countries include: Bahamas, Belgium, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Kuwait, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand and Turkey.