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Tans-Tasman shipping costs put Australians out of market

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Acting Shadow Minister for Shipping and Waterfront Reform

MEDIA RELEA SE Michael R. Cobb - Federal Member for Parkes 42 Church Street PH: (068) 820999

DUBBO NSW 2830_____________________________________ FX: (068) 829935


Queensland sugar exporters have confirmed that the shipping freight rates to New Zealand are putting them out of that market.

The rates per tonne for that route are on a par with the rates to their most distant destinations for exports.

The union-to-union bans on foreign flag competition on the trans-Tasman route is putting these exporters at an unfair disadvantage - in order to protect Australian shipping from the same competition that ouf exporters have to face!

The New Zealand Government has been aware of the absurdity of the illegal union arrangement and has sought the Australian Government's assistance in ending it. The Government must do so without delay.

The closed maritime shop is also costing sugar producers dearly in coastal shipping. The protection of coastal shipping from open foreign competition - which the sugar producers are now having to face themselves - means that it is cheaper to ship sugar from Bangkok to Sydney than from Bundaberg to Sydney.

Likewise, it is cheaper to ship to the Perth market from Singapore than from the Australian East Coast. Industry sources have indicated that once the protective barriers have been removed from foreign imported sugar, Australian coastal shipping rates will make it cheaper to supply the large Tasmanian confectionary sugar market

from Singapore than from Queensland.

The enormous unnecessary costs of the Australian waterfront are major contributors to these added rates. On the trans-Tasman route, on-shore costs account for 70% of the total costs, and the major share of these are on the Australian side.

It is high time that the Labor Government delivered the structural reforms in the maritime area that would enable Australian producers to compete fairly with imports in their own and near markets.

Whatever progress may have been made in waterfront reform, it has not reduced costs to make Australian producers more competitive in export markets - or even in our own domestic markets. That is the very purpose of the reform in the first place!

Ends.........WR35/92 Contact: John Wallis

18-5-92 A/H 06 295 6796


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