PORTS Australia has been in contact with the Australian Government to discuss making ports and their personnel an “essential service” to achieve the best outcome for “the safety of port staff and livelihood of Australia”.

“As the necessary safety measures ramp up around the nation, we rely on our essential services to keep Australia running, whether they be our medical staff, emergency services or supermarkets,” Ports Australia said in a statement.

“Our supply chains are critical to ensure fuel, food and other much needed essential commodities are being delivered around the nation and it is imperative that our ports stay open and their personnel allowed to keep working.”

Ports Australia says while there are encouraging signs coming from overseas where the numbers of shipping containers full of goods are starting to show early signs of recovery, this must be matched with the appropriate workforce inside the port-gate ready to do the job.

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Ports Australia CEO Mike Gallacher acknowledged the work already being done.

“It’s great to see sectors coming together at a time where unity is paramount. Ports are no different – we’ve got a constant stream of dialogue running between our member ports and government officials,” he said.

“On behalf of Ports Australia, I’d like to encourage the government to expediate their consideration of this determination as time is critical. The government response measures are expanding every day as the likelihood of limiting the movement of people throughout community grows ever closer.

“From ships arriving to unload at our ports, right through to trucks delivering much needed food and goods to the people stacking shelves at retail shops, an unbroken supply chain is critical for community confidence at this time,” Mr Gallacher said.

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