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Thursday, 15 March 1973
Page: 675

Mr Garland asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice:

(1)   Is it a fact that an ordinary seaman on a rig service vessel is entitled to a wage of approximately $9,300 for 26 weeks work, and that the minimum available to a seaman is $6,700 for 32 weeks work.

(2)   What are the wages to which seamen are entitled for each category provided in the award, and how many weeks work are involved.

(3)   Will these cost levels make it difficult for any expansion of the Australian mercantile fleet to be economic.

(4)   Has he carried out any examination into these matters; if so, with what result.

Mr Charles Jones - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   A seaman on a rig service' vessel is entitled to a wage of $9,505 for a 26 week/26 week work/leave ratio. The minimum wage for an adult seaman is $5,922 for a 32 week/20 week work/leave ratio.

(2)   The minimum wage applying for each rating in the award for most Australian ships is shown in the table below. Wages paid in respect of special types of ship are higher by varying amounts. This information has been supplied by the Commonwealth Steamship Owners Federation. Almost all ships work a 32 week/ 20 week work/leave ratio, although certain exceptions work a 30 weck/20 week work/leave ratio.

(3)   Australian wages in shipping, like many other Australian industries, reflect the higher standards of living which Australians enjoy. This is one factor in the economics of shipping. But with ships increasing in size and with modern technology I do not believe that these wage levels should stand in the way of expansion of Australian shipping.

(4)   These matters are under constant examination by the Department of Transport and the Australian National Line.

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