PORTS Australia has announced a “three pronged policy platform” ahead of the federal election, aimed at highlighting the importance of ports to the nation’s future.

“Australia is an island nation with over 98% of its trade moving through our sea ports along the blue highway, fully utilising and connecting ports will help all Australians,” the PA statement read.

“Any policy that increases or inhibits the ability of Ports to operate efficiently and for the country to connect to the Ports has a direct impact on business and Australians through the economy.”

The PA policy platform is made up of three key positions aimed at allowing ports to operate more efficiently and thus help Australian businesses connect to the world, improve liveability for Australians and ensure we have a skilled workforce to handle our economy into the future.

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According to PA, the three main ways ports can help improve Australia’s future involve building maritime skills, using Australia’s “blue highway” and “improving lives through connected ports”.

“Ports need Australians with expert maritime skills to operate,” PA stated.

“Australia is an island nation with over 98% of its trade moving by sea equating to around $1.2bn of trade goods moving through our Ports every day.”

PA noted that ports were operated by people with specific maritime skills.

“Unfortunately, the pool of people with the skills required to run a Port is shrinking,” it stated. “Over 60% of people in the industry 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.  457 visas are now crucial to filling vital roles.”

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