Labor has pledged to build an independent fleet to secure Australia’s access to fuel supplies and trade routes abroad.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said that although maritime transport accounts for almost all of Australia’s imported and exported goods, only one percent of maritime trade is carried by Australian ships.
“The Morrison-Joyce government has put our national security and economic sovereignty at risk by remaining inactive as large multinationals jettisoned Australian flagged and manned ships so that they could hire cheaper foreign crews,” he said. declared.
“Our nation (relies) on foreign governments and companies for our essential imports… including fuel.”
A Labor government should first close regulatory loopholes and establish a task force to inform the fleet-building initiative. The working group would also provide advice on how to apply current coastal shipping laws and on reforms that would help revitalize the sector.
While the ships would likely be privately owned and operated on a commercial basis, Mr Albanese said he would ensure they were available for the defense force to use in times of national crisis – qu ‘it is a natural disaster or a conflict.
“In times of conflict and crisis, our economic sovereignty and national security depend on Australian sailors working on Australian ships,” he said.