Maritime Industry Australia Parliamentary Reception
08 November 2016
The Mural Hall, Parliament House, Canberra
Good evening Parliamentary colleagues and ladies and gentlemen.
I must congratulate MIAL on the impressive display you have put together—it certainly underlines your assertion that there is a lot more to the maritime sector than simply ships and boats.
I live in the coastal town of Lakes Entrance, home to Victoria's largest commercial fishing fleet which generates $29.3 million annually and provides 12 per cent of all employment in the local region.
Lakes Entrance might not be on the scale of your operations, but living in that community means I understand how important the maritime sector is to local coastal economies and to national productivity and global trade.
Our modern maritime industry is innovative—and as MIAL points out—maritime is always pushing the limits.
From improved safety measures to satellites in space, environmentally sensitive sea-bed exploration, eco-friendly tugs, bespoke emergency response and the world's largest offshore simulator-based training facility for the oil and gas sector—the list of creative innovations and world class solutions continues to grow.
As I said in a message to delegates at the recent Ports Australia Centennial Conference, the Australian Government has a strong track record and an ongoing commitment to a regulatory regime which prioritises safe shipping and the protection of our unique marine environment.
As the world's largest island, Australia depends on shipping and aviation to connect us to international markets and the global community.
The maritime task is by far the most important for moving our products through our ports and connecting them to our extensive land transport networks.
Over the years, governments and government agencies have built up a much greater understanding of the critical role the maritime sector plays in Australia and how integral our ports in major cities and in regional communities are to the national transport system.
A large number of government agencies are involved in discrete but connected aspects in the maritime matrix, ranging from defence, to customs, biosecurity, maritime security, safety and environmental protection, international engagement and the Commonwealth's shared role with the states and territories in transport infrastructure.
As Minister for Infrastructure and Transport I can assure you that I will be encouraging the sort of productivity enhancements, innovations and creative thinking you have showcased here tonight.
I make one final point. After many meetings and much feedback, I am acutely aware of the need to work in a bipartisan way to deliver reforms that will boost confidence, provide certainty and deliver the productivity benefits your industry desires.
The consultation over the past six months has been important and I have had preliminary discussions with the Opposition on a reform agenda we can agree on.
I don't want to raise false expectations but there is an enthusiasm across the political divide to see what we can agree on to deliver great certainty in the future.
Thank you—please have an enjoyable evening.