Offshore & Specialist Ships Australia Ltd
Media Release 4th May 2022
Australian Maritime Resilience
Maritime skills capability
Are you aware that:
100% of our imports and 99% of our exports rely on foreign owned and controlled ships
Very soon there will only be 9 Australian flagged commercial ships. (Controlled or owned)
Currently there is shortage of approximately 700 qualified Deck and Engineering officers.
Sea-time for training seafarers is increasingly unavailable and potentially non-existent in future
Without access to sea-time training there can be no certification for sea- going careers.
Australian flagged ships mean access to sea-time training.
Australia’s resilience, sovereign sustainability and national economic and security future depends on the next government halting the decline in the Australian flagged ship fleet. The next government can do this, and OSSA urges you to consider the beneficial impact of:
Taxation Policy reform – Uncompetitive tax arrangements make it uncommercial for Australian ship owners to operate. Align Australia’s tax regime more closely with that of other maritime nations. i.e., Use tax reform to incentivise all shipowners and enhance their competitive position.
Remove income tax from seafarers serving on large ships (i.e., those seafarers holding STCW qualifications from the IMO which applies to the skills required for ships of a particular size).
Updating the Australian International Ship Register (AISR) – by removing the “Time off the Coast” requirement (Currently foreign ships can work 365 days a year around Australia’s coastline but an Australian ship on the AISR can only work for half the year)
Workforce change – Engage with Pacific nations workers to develop training and employment opportunities to complement the Australian workforce. This provides work and security with our near neighbours.
Cadet Subsidy – Introduce a subsidy for Australian shipowners sponsoring cadets.
Global political instability points to the urgent need for greater Australian Maritime Resilience. The next government must undertake the reforms outlined above. OSSA argues that such changes will lead to:
Increase in the number of Australian owned and operated ships.
Strengthen national security by building merchant shipping independence.
Create seafaring jobs and requisite training for Australians and enhance
Align Australia’s taxation and regulatory conditions and requirements into
line with other countries and reduce constraints placed on Australian
Reduce cost impost on the Australian taxpayers.
Candidates need to be acutely aware that Australia is an Island nation. We have historically been dependent on having sea-faring expertise and capability to ensure national well-being and security.
Recent governments have failed to adequately factor in the action to retain our seafaring strengths. We will be increasingly vulnerable unless action is taken.
Australia is in jeopardy unless the next government acts – asap.
OSSA would like your support to bring this action about.