The Business Council of Australia has lodged a submission with the Department of Infrastructure and Transport on the Exposure Draft of the Coastal Trading Bill 2012.
The submission reiterates the BCA’s concerns that proposed reform of Australia’s coastal shipping sector may lead to higher costs and lower-quality services for domestic shipping users, and that the economy-wide impacts of the reforms require full assessment by the Productivity Commission.
Analysis presented in the Regulatory Impact Statement finds that net economic loss rises as foreign vessels are replaced with higher-cost Australian ships under the reforms. This gives cause for a more comprehensive evaluation of the impact of the reforms and to reconsider whether they are serving the national interest in their current form.
The submission calls for any legislative reform in the shipping sector to have an objective to lift Australia’s international competitiveness by ensuring globally competitive costs of transporting Australian goods by ship.
The objectives of the Act as proposed make no specific reference to enhancing Australia’s international competitiveness.
Ensuring policy reforms support competitiveness and economic growth is particularly important at a time of global economic uncertainty and in light of other competitive pressures facing Australian trade-exposed industries due to the high Australian dollar, sluggish productivity growth and the imposition of the carbon tax.