The 2013 Budget focus on the Australian shipping industry has been a long time coming. For a number of decades the Australian maritime workforce has been in decline because of high cost structures and a reducing number of Australian flagged vessels. This has made it difficult to competitively recruit, train and employ local seafarers.

Last night's budget will help to turn the tide and inject a much needed investment into the Australian shipping industry and its maritime workforce.

The funding commitment to the maritime sector is;

  • The provision of $5.0 million over three years (2013-14 to 2015-16) to assist the Australian shipping industry to meet its future workforce training needs. This funding will be provided for:
    • a national maritime training co-contribution subsidy of $10,000 per integrated rating trainee and $20,000 per deck and engineer officer trainee; and
    • seed funding for three years to cover the development costs of the national demand aggregation model, undertake biennial workforce censuses, support a national industry training body, and to support the Maritime Workforce Development Forum's ongoing operation.
  • The provision of $11.9 million over four years to the Australian Maritime College to support the delivery of specialised training to maritime students.

Along with the recent shipping industry reforms, this funding commitment should assist with the revitalisation and growth of Australian maritime capability.

The Government has also committed to retaining the Protection of the Sea Levy (PSL) at its current rate of 14.25 cents per net registered tonne for defined vessels to establish a $10.0 million pollution response reserve which will enable the Australian Maritime Safety Authority to respond quickly to pollution incidents at sea.