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Tuesday, 28 April 1987
Page: 1869

Senator GIETZELT —On 26 March 1987 Senator Parer asked the Minister for Resources and Energy a question without notice concerning the union bans on flag of convenience vessels entering New South Wales ports to load coal. As this question falls within the responsibilities of the Minister for Transport, whom I represent in this place, he has provided an answer, and I seek leave to incorporate the response in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The answer read as follows-

The union bans on flag of convenience (FOC) ships in the NSW coal export trades were imposed in 1981. Longstanding and complex industrial issues are involved.

Analysis has indicated that the bans have, to date, not had a significant impact on the relative competitiveness of the NSW coal industry. The Government has recognised, however, that the FOC bans could possibly have implications for future trade opportunities, including additional Australian coal sales to Brazil which requires the use of FOC vessels.

Although this is primarily a matter for the industry itself to resolve commercially, the Minister for Transport has initiated and supported consultation among all parties within the industry, directed at achieving a satisfactory solution without disruption.

Recent Government initiatives, pursuant to the recommendations of the Maritime Industry Development Committee, to improve the competitiveness and efficiency of Australian flag shipping have increased the possibilities for resolution through the increased involvement of efficient Australian shipping in carrying export coal on a commercial basis.

I understand that industry representatives are shortly to visit Brazil to continue discussions on possible coal sales, and that shipping arrangements will also be discussed.

A further meeting between coal producers and seagoing unions in late April is expected to review progress following these commercial discussions.