SHIPPING Australia chief executive Rod Nairn has raised concerns over Labor shipping policy, suggesting it could amount to handing over fuel security to the Maritime Union.

Labor is on record as wanting to ensure a strategic fleet of Australian-flagged tankers that could be requisitioned during a conflict or national emergency.

During a question and answer session at the ALC Forum 2019, Mr Nairn questioned Labor infrastructure spokesman Anthony Albanese about the policy.

“My first concern is that I don’t see how putting our fuel supplies into the hands of a known militant union is a way of improving resilience,” he said.

“I thought we would be better off to have multiple flags, providing that from all over the world from different sources and also increasing our level of reserves to give us that resilience.”


But Mr Albanese stood by the policy.

“I say yes we need multiple flags, unless we act we won’t have one [Australia] flag will be missing. Let’s not pretend that’s not happening,” he said.

“The fact that your organisation, with respect, is called Shipping Australia, even though they’re the non-Australian [shipping businesses], is in my mind a recognition that there is actually a national interest in having an Australian shipping industry.

“That is the giveaway, the fact that you have chosen that [name].”

Mr Nairn earlier praised Mr Albanese for his support in connecting inland rail to the ports of Brisbane and Melbourne and for his intervention on the biosecurity levy.