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Government should reinstate maritime workers & negotiate waterfront reform



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Senator Peter Cook Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the S enate S hadow Minister for T rade

MEDIA RELEASE 12 April 1998

GOVERNMENT SHOULD REINSTATE MARITIME WORKERS & NEGOTIATE WATERFRONT REFORM

AT LEAST 300,000 JOBS MAY BE HIT AND BILLIONS IN EXPORTS

Some of Australia’s key exports may be placed in jeopardy whilst the Howard government pursues its ideological agenda against the Maritime Union of Australia.

“The Government needs to take this dispute back to the negotiating table, insure that the Patrick workers are reinstated and institute real waterfront reform and stop pursuing their ideological recklessness because there is too much at stake,” Senator Peter Cook, Shadow Trade Minister and Labor’s Deputy Senate Leader said today.

“The competitiveness of our key export industries will be reduced whilst Peter Reith refuses to come to the negotiating table to end the impasse with the MUA”,

“Over 300,000 jobs in three key industries alone and nearly $10 Billion in exports in those three industries may be hit as the Howard government pursues its heavy-handed industrial methods.

“Twenty thousand Australian farms and the 200,000 workers in the grain, sheep and beef cattle industry stand to be affected by this dispute.

“The wheat industry alone contributes over $4 Billion to Australia’s export market - that’s now in danger of being hit hard by this government’s bloody-minded industrial practices.

“Iron ore exports generated $3 Billion for the Australian economy last year - that and the 20,000 people employed in the iron ore industry are also under threat by the prospect of a prolonged dispute.

“Australia’s automotive industry is worth more than $2 Billion in exports and there are 50,000 workers employed in it. They too are will be at risk in any drawn-out waterfront dispute.

“Patrick’s workforce represents 50% of Australia’s stevedoring industry. If this dispute is not resolved then Patrick’s standstill alone will have major repercussions on Australia’s inward and outward trade performance.

“The government needs to accept that its industrial strategy is fundamentally flawed, come to the table and talk to the MUA and the ACTU - otherwise risk putting Australia’s exports at risk.

ENDS

For further information contact Leonie Holloway on 026 277 3482 or Jo Scard on 0417 206 297.