LEGISLATION restricting the use of Australian shipping business names has been repealed by federal Parliament.
The move already has been criticised by the Maritime Union but drawn support from a key industry group.
The so-called “ANL Legislation Repeal Bill” passed the Senate on Monday night.
According to the Parliamentary website, the aim of the ANL Legislation Repeal Bill 2019 is to repeal the ANL Act 1956 and the ANL Guarantee Act 1994 “which have become redundant now that ANL Limited no longer exists as a government owned company”.
ANL has been a subsidiary of French company CMA CGM for a generation.
“The repeal of the ANL Act in particular will remove the current restrictions on ‘protected names’ in relation to ANL, thereby allowing businesses to use these names in a commercial context,” the parliamentary statement read.
The protected names are:
- Australian National Line
- Maritime Agencies of Australia and
Maritime Union national secretary Paddy Crumlin criticised the legislation saying the government was “missing in action” when it came to protecting Australia’s domestic fleet.
“The Morrison government has found the time to draw up legislation to allow the foreign owner of the former Commonwealth shipping line to use business names and domain names that deceptively suggest an ongoing link to Australian shipping, yet they’ve been unwilling to do anything to actually support the local industry or seafarers,” Maritime Union of Australia national secretary Paddy Crumlin said.
“The number of Australian-owned and crewed vessels is continuing to shrink, with thousands of jobs lost in recent decades.”
But Maritime Industry Australia chief executive Teresa Lloyd took a different view.
“What this Bill does is allow other Australian companies the rights to use the terms protected by the Act, including Searoad which is already in use by two Australian companies in varying forms,” Ms Lloyd said.
“There was a very real risk that the use of these names was something that would be lost unless this Act was repealed.”
Ms Lloyd said the Bill helped “actual Australian owned shipping companies that exist now”.
“This move is about the future, not the past,” she said.
“It is a positive development and all the parties involved with a direct interest in this matter are to be applauded for being pragmatic in making this change which assists Australian shipping businesses.”