Strategic Fleet Taskforce launched

The Australian Government has today appointed a new taskforce to guide the establishment of Australia’s Maritime Strategic Fleet, which will strengthen our economic sovereignty and improve national security.

To achieve this, Australia’s Strategic Fleet will be made up of Australian-flagged and crewed vessels.

The Strategic Fleet Taskforce will guide the Government on how to establish Australia’s fleet as quickly as possible.

It will also provide advice on what legislative or regulatory reforms are necessary to support the Strategic Fleet and Australian shipping.

Comprising of representatives from the shipping industry, major charterers, unions, Australian business representatives and the Department of Defence, the taskforce will meet later this month to kick-start this critical work.

The taskforce will be chaired by Mr John Mullen, bringing extensive experience in international transportation and logistics and more than two decades in senior positions with some of the world’s largest transport and infrastructure companies.

Ms Angela Gillham, a shipping policy specialist with Maritime Industry Australia, Dr Sarah Ryan, a leader in the energy industry with Woodside Energy, and Mr Paddy Crumlin from the Maritime Union of Australia will also be providing their expertise to the taskforce.

Major-General Jason Walk from the Department of Defence, a senior military officer with wide-ranging command, leadership and management experience will round out the taskforce.

The taskforce will deliver its advice to Government in two phases, with the first phase to report on high-level strategic objectives by the end of the year.

During this phase, shipping, maritime and other stakeholders will be able to make submissions to shape the vision for a strategic fleet through an open public consultation process.

This will be followed by a second phase to identify ships options and other needs for a strategic fleet of up to 12 vessels, expected to be complete by June 2023.

The Terms of Reference for the taskforce, can be found on the Department of Infrastructure website

Quotes attributable to Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Catherine King:

“Establishing a Strategic Fleet made up of Australian Flagged and crewed vessels was a key commitment of our Government during the election, and we are moving quickly to deliver on it.

“Australia relies on shipping to support our economic and social wellbeing, with an incredible 99 per cent of the volume of our goods trade moved by sea.

“It is essential that we make sure Australia continues to have a robust supply chain so we get food, fuel, medical supplies and other critical cargo to support Australian industries, the community and protect our national interest.

“I look forward to working with the taskforce as they advise on how we best make this happen.”