THE FEDERAL government handed down its 2024-25 budget on Tuesday night (14 May) and Australia’s maritime and logistics industries stand to benefit from some of its measures.

The rail sector and supporters of the development of Australia’s maritime strategic fleet are among those to celebrate funding commitments (more than $1 billion for rail and $26 million for the strategic fleet), but measures around trade, biosecurity, infrastructure, logistics, manufacturing and sustainability are also of interest to industry.

The government has committed $237.7 million over seven years from 2023–24 (and $2.3 million per year ongoing) to support aviation, road, rail and maritime transport priorities.

This figure includes $5.2 million in 2024-25 to support ongoing safety investigative services provided by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and continued work on sustainable funding arrangements for the ATSB, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. It also includes $2.4 million in 2024-25 to continue development of the Maritime Single Window project.

Trade measures

On the trade front, as highlighted by Rigby Cooke Lawyers (specialising in trade, transport and logistics), the government has “re-affirmed its commitment to cross-border trade reform”, committing $29.9 million to the Simplified Trade System Taskforce over four years.

“The funding includes an investment of $20.5 million over four years to implement two targeted digital projects as part of a Digital Trade Accelerator Program and $9.4 million over two years to continue whole-of-government coordination of cross-border trade reforms,” partner Andrew Hudson and lawyer Alexander Uskhopov wrote in their summary.

The budget also commits to abolishing “nuisance tariffs” to support the STS agenda. The government expects removal of these tariffs to boost productivity, facilitate legitimate trade and reduce compliance costs.

“These tariffs do nothing to protect domestic industry as goods imported under these tariffs are already largely eligible for existing tariff preferences or concessions,” budget papers say.

Rigby Cooke Lawyers notes the removal of such tariffs has been described as the largest unilateral tariff reform in two decades.

And Freight & Trade Alliance, in its own summary, said from 1 July this year, 457 nuisance tariffs would be abolished, streamlining $8.5 billion in annual trade and eliminating tariffs on goods such as toothbrushes, fridges, dishwashers, clothing, and sanitary products; saving Australian businesses approximately $30 million per year in compliance costs.  

Maritime and home affairs

The budget allocates an additional $123.8 million over two years from 2023-24 to maintain and enhance Australia’s civil maritime security capabilities.

“Reference is made in the budget to ‘address underfunding at Home Affairs and the Australian Border Force, helping to sustain operations and maintain capability to secure our borders’,” FTA said.

“Consistent with past practice, supplementary funding is provided to the Australian Border Force on an annual basis for border protection activities, based on operational requirements. In the 2024-25 Budget, the supplementary increase to border protection funding is $266.7 million, bringing the total funding for 2024-25 to $2.0 billion.”

And Rigby Cooke Lawyers noted the government intends to invest $237.4 million over four years from 2024-25 (and $52.1 million per year ongoing) for border agencies to progress design, fit out and commission passenger terminal and shared Commonwealth facilities, provide federal policing and detector dogs at the airport to support critical border security and biosecurity functions.


The federal budget also includes a range of measures supporting the accelerated development of a domestic low carbon fuel industry.

“The government will provide an estimated $19.7 billion over ten years from 2024-25 to accelerate investment in Future Made in Australia priority industries, including renewable hydrogen, green metals, low carbon liquid fuels, refining and processing of critical minerals and manufacturing of clean energy technologies including in solar and battery supply chains,” budget papers say.

“Funding will catalyse clean energy supply chains and support Australia to become a renewable energy superpower.”

MIAL welcomed the announcement of funding, adding that Australia’s domestic shipping industry “urgently needs access to low carbon fuels”.

“With long asset life and heavy reliance on liquid fuels, decarbonisation of the maritime sector is recognised as a global long-term challenge,” MIAL said.

“Our domestic operators have very few options available to access low carbon liquid fuels in the face of increasing regulatory requirements to reduce carbon intensity.”

The government has committed:

  • $1.7 billion over the next decade to support the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to provide a transition pipeline for net-zero innovations (including liquid fuels) via the Future Made in Australia Innovation Fund
  • $18.5 million over four years to develop a certification scheme for low-carbon liquid fuels.
  • $1.5 million funding over two years from 2024-25 to analyse the potential impacts of demand-side regulatory settings for low carbon liquid fuels.

“The size and scale of global maritime decarbonisation requires investment and policy settings that support the development of sustainable fuel production and infrastructure to assist the industry to transform at the speed of relevance,” MIAL said.

Incidentally, the 2024-25 Federal Budget was handed down while 200 industry stakeholders attended MIAL’s Blueprint for a Maritime Nation conference in Brisbane.

“The delivery of the 2024-25 Federal budget during the Maritime Decarbonisation Summit has provided the industry with the confidence that the Albanese government has listened to sector specific concerns and is committed to creating an environment that will support innovation in the development of alternative low-carbon fuels,” MIAL CEO Angela Gillham said.

“This is a landmark budget for building resilience in our regional fuel supply and ensuring the acceleration toward a sovereign low-carbon fuel future. MIAL congratulates the Albanese Government for investing in our national maritime resilience.”