The Palaszczuk Government will seek to reinvigorate shipping along Queensland’s coastline to create new maritime jobs and expand transport operations in the state.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey established a Maritime Jobs Taskforce, which met for the first time today, to work with industry and maritime unions to remove barriers and identify practical ideas and opportunities that will grow the industry.
“A parliamentary committee that looked at intrastate shipping in Queensland last year found a decline in training, employment and competition,” Mr Bailey said.
“The global economy has been hit hard by COVID-19, but Queensland’s strong health response means we can now focus on jobs and supporting our economic recovery.
“Freight moves to every corner of Queensland on its highways and rail lines but our coastline, the great blue highway, is under-used.
“Having a more efficient, reliable and safe intrastate shipping industry will give businesses more transport options, drive competition and create new jobs at a time when they’re most needed.”
Mr Bailey said about 2,600 maritime workers, or 22 per cent of all maritime workers in Australia, were employed in Queensland.
“This includes transport professionals, marine pilots and transfer crews, deckhands, transport and despatch clerks, supply and distribution managers and accountants,” he said.
“By finding ways to encourage growth in intrastate shipping, we can explore opportunities for job creation, especially in the area of vessel crewing and training and increasing the use of local crews in Queensland.
“Giving maritime workers new career avenues also makes the wider industry more sustainable into the future.”
Mr Bailey said former Maritime Safety Queensland General Manager, Patrick Quirk had been appointed to chair the Maritime Jobs Taskforce.
“Mr Quirk has considerable experience in the shipping sector which will be invaluable in leading this initiative,” he said.
“The taskforce’s priority will be to explore how we can create more maritime jobs by identifying practical measures to grow the intrastate coastal shipping industry.”
Mr Quirk will be assisted by two industry representatives who will work in an honorary capacity, Captain Chris Peters, Chief Executive Officer of Pacific Tug Group and Jason Miners from the Maritime Union of Australia.
Mr Bailey said the taskforce will discuss the issues with industry and present its findings in a final report to the Minister by 28 September 2020.
In addition to the shipping sector, the taskforce will look at job opportunities in the tourism, fishing and resource sectors, as well as general maritime operations.
Mr Quirk has a long history of maritime administration and has held significant positions in the Queensland Public Service.
Between 1984 and 1990 he was a Marine Pilot and Harbour Master, working for Queensland Transport.
He then took up a senior role with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, before returning to Transport and Main Roads in 2001 as Queensland’s Director of Ports.
Most recently, Mr Quirk was the General Manager Maritime Safety Queensland from 2010 to 2018.
Mr Quirk was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2012 for services to the state of Queensland.