AIMPE calls for new approach to cabotage
(updated 22 05 17)
AIMPE is seeking a change in the way that coastal shipping and maritime operations are regulated in Australia.
AIMPE is calling for a change to the Shipping Registration Act to ensure that all vessels which regularly operate in Australian waters are required to be registered in Australia.
AIMPE is also calling fora new Ministry to be created to promote the Australian maritime industry.
Lloyd's List Australia carried the following report on the AIMPE submission:
To read more go to our shipping page:
AIMPE's Coastal Shipping Policy submission
(updated 15 05 17)
AIMPE's submission to the Federal Government was lodged on Friday 12th May.
AIMPE has rejected the policy proposals contained in the Government's Discussion Paper on the grounds that the changes would only make it easier for foreign shipping to keep carrying a larger and larger share of Australia's coastal cargoes.
Instead AIMPE has called for all ships operating in Australian waters to be required to be registered in Australia - just as cars, trucks, buses and planes are all required to be registered in Australia if they want to operate in Australia.
A copy can be read here:
AIMPE_response_to_Coastal_Shipping_Reform_Discussion_Paper_12_05_17.pdf (1.00 MB Fri May 12 17:14:33 2017)
Nautilus Federation's Global Seafarer newspaper
AIMPE became a member of the Nautilus Federation of officer unions in 2015.
The Nautilus Federation is producing a digital newspaper for the members of all affiliated unions.
The latest edition is the April 2017 edition and it is available here for AIMPE members:
Global_SeaFarer_April_2017_v3.pdf (3.00 MB Tue May 9 08:01:43 2017)
S. 457 campaign -
AIMPE appreciate change on Immigration issue (updated 21.04.17)
AIMPE welcomes the removal of the Ship’s Engineer classification from the short term visa list. This is a key part of what AIMPE has been campaigning for over the last two years and more.
The major changes announced this week by the Prime Minister Hon Malcolm Turnbull and the Immigration Minister Hon Peter Dutton came after sustained lobbying by AIMPE and many other groups. AIMPE has also received active support from a number of sources including Senator Pauline Hanson [PHON, Qld], Senator John Williams [Nat., NSW] and Mr Julian Hill [ALP, Vic.]. AIMPE’s Director of Government Relations, Mr Michael Bakhaazi, played a crucial role in co-ordinating that support. AIMPE wishes to express our appreciation for the efforts of these and other individuals who have extended their support and assistance to our campaign.
Although the announcement stated that the s.457 visa has been abolished a new set of arrangements has been put in place. There is now a short term list and a medium/long term list. These replace the old SOL and CSOL. The Ship’s Engineer classification has been removed from the short term list. This is a big positive for unemployed Australian Marine Engineers.
There are hundreds of skilled, experienced and qualified Marine Engineers who are ready, willing and able to work in Australia. This was very clearly demonstrated in March this year when over 60 members responded to a single advertisement for relief positions with CSL. AIMPE notified the Immigration Minister and the relevant Departmental officials [and many other people in Canberra] about this example. It provided very tangible evidence of the AIMPE arguments about the change in the maritime industry in the last three years. AIMPE acknowledges the efforts of all of those members who took the time to advise our officials of their applications and of their other actions in support of the AIMPE campaign.
There are new restrictions that have been placed on what visas can be issued for Ship’s Engineers under the medium/long term list. These restrictions appear to place a very tight limit on the circumstances when visas can be issued for non-Australian/NZ Ship’s Engineers. If there is any indication that any vessel operator is exploiting or manipulating these new arrangements, then AIMPE will resume our campaign to ensure that Australian/NZ Marine Engineers do have genuine priority for Ship’s Engineers jobs in Australia.
VALE TED IRELAND (posted 30 03 17)
On 28th March AIMPE received the news that Ted Ireland had died suddenly whilst travelling in Borneo.
AIMPE sends condolences to all of Ted's family and friends.
Ted was the President of the AIMPE's Victoria/Tasmania Branch and had been an active Seagoing member until his retirement in 2016.
Ted was 73 years of age.
Pictures - Ted on a visit to the MV Andrea at Station Pier, Melbourne, 28th September 2011.
The members involved were in need of help. Ted was there to lend a hand.
AIMPE submission on
Corporate Avoidance of the Fair Work Act
(posted 20th March 2017)
AIMPE made a submission to the Senate Committee Inquiry into the Corporate Avoidance of the Fair Work Act earlier this year. The Committee Secretariat has now uploaded the AIMPE submission to the Parliamentary website. For ease of access a copy of the submission and the attachments which have been published by the Senate Committee can be found by following the links below.
Also to be found below is a link to the submission in reply by the CSL company.
sub204_aimpe_submission.pdf (1.18 MB Mon Mar 20 13:59:37 2017)
sub2041_aimpe_attachments_re_rivtow_partnerships.pdf (493.07 KB Mon Mar 20 13:59:37 2017)
sub2042_aimpe_attachments_re_partnership_contract.pdf (799.11 KB Mon Mar 20 13:59:37 2017)
sub2043_aimpe_attachments_re_mma_offshore_logistics.pdf (220.83 KB Mon Mar 20 13:59:37 2017)
sub204ror_csl_response_to_aimpe_submission.pdf (124.20 KB Mon Mar 20 13:59:37 2017)
For those who don't have the time to read all of the submission, here is the summary of the recommendations that AIMPE put to the Senate Committee.
As can be seen, the main points of the AIMPE submission relate to how companies are manipulating s.457 visa holders to achieve new Enterprise Agreements
and also how some are using sham partnerships to avoid their employment obligations.
This submission is structured to address the issues identified in the terms of reference for the current inquiry in the order set out in those terms. AIMPE’s submissions are supplemented by a number of case studies which are linked to the relevant terms of reference. This material demonstrates that a number of companies operating in the Australian maritime industry have avoided, and continue to avoid, some of the key obligations imposed by the Fair Work Act. This is unfair to Australian workers and seriously undermines confidence in the Australian system of industrial relations.
Some companies have exploited the availability of s.457 visa guest workers to avoid certain Fair Work Act obligations. Some companies have utilised this approach to the extent that it is an integral part of their business model. These companies predicate their operations on excluding Australian workers and using guest labour on a routine basis. (Often these companies are Australian subsidiaries of much larger foreign owned corporations.) This strategy has resulted in qualified and experience Australian Marine Engineers being excluded from employment. This is not fair to these Australian workers. This is a clear example of what is known as social dumping elsewhere in the developed economies of the world.
The use of guest labour has the consequence of excluding Australian registered organisations from bargaining and from participation in the Fair Work Commission approval processes. This exclusion of Australian registered organisations enables these companies to achieve wages and conditions below the prevailing market conditions in the sector and gain an unfair advantage over companies which respect and abide by the obligations of the Fair Work Act.
AIMPE Recommendation 1
AIMPE submits that the Senate Committee should recommend that the Fair Work Act be amended to ensure that Enterprise Agreements not be permitted to be registered if they have been signed overseas by guest workers holding or seeking temporary work visas. This practice should be specified as an unfair bargaining practice and should be prohibited.
AIMPE Recommendation 2
AIMPE also submits that the Senate Committee should recommend that the Fair Work Act be amended to ensure that the relevant organisation[s] should be entitled to full disclosure of documentation provided to the Fair Work Commission by an employer who applies for approval of an Enterprise Agreement which has been voted on by guest workers or employees working under temporary visas. Furthermore AIMPE submits that the Senate Committee should recommend that the Fair Work Act should be amended to prohibit the granting of confidentiality orders in relation to applications for approval of Enterprise Agreements that are signed by guest workers or employees working under temporary work visas.
AIMPE Recommendation 3
AIMPE further submits that the Senate Committee should recommend that the Fair Work Act be amended to ensure that the relevant organisation[s] should be entitled to standing as of right during the initial approval process for an enterprise Agreement which has been voted on by guest workers.
AIMPE has also been advised that at least one maritime employer in Australia is deducting agency fees from employees’ wages which appears to be contrary to the Maritime Labour Convention.
AIMPE Recommendation 4
AIMPE recommends that the Fair Work Ombudsman should examine and investigate Inco Ships Pty Ltd employment practises, hiring practises, the relationship to an Overseas Employment Agency of the same address and the extent to which foreign employees are being made to pay commissions with Inco Ships Pty Ltd consent to these foreign employment agencies.
Other companies have consciously denied Australian workers their rights under the Fair Work Act and under other legislation establishing rights for workers [for example workers compensation laws and occupational health and safety laws]by requiring contractors to establish sham partnership arrangements in order to gain work. Partners of course are not employees. Nor is a partnership the same as an independent contractor. Partnerships in Australia are generally regulated by laws of the State Parliaments – most of which date from the nineteenth century – e.g. Partnership Act 1891 (Queensland) and Partnership Act 1895 (Western Australia).
The Australian Parliament has dealt with sham contracting arrangements on an individual basis - Fair Work Act 2009, Division 6—Sham arrangements. However the partnership structure is not addressed by the existing sham contracting prevention provisions. As a result in certain sectors of the maritime industry the rights of workers under the Fair Work Act are being completely denied.
AIMPE Recommendation 5
AIMPE submits that the Senate Committee should recommend that the sham work arrangements contained in Division 6 of Part 3-1 of the Fair Work Act be amended to ensure that sham partnership arrangements should not be permitted to avoid the rights provided for workers under the Fair Work Act. Further the Fair Work Commission should be invested with powers to determine a dispute where so-called Partnership Arrangements displace (or are otherwise inappropriately used in lieu of) conventional employer/employee relations. In addition AIMPE submits that the Fair Work Act should be amended to provide that relevant registered organisations should have standing as of right to initiate such dispute proceedings and to appear.
When employees have voted against a company proposal for an Enterprise Agreement, including on more than one occasion, some companies in the maritime industry have used different corporate entities to circumvent the employee opposition to the proposed terms of the Enterprise Agreement.
AIMPE Recommendation 6
AIMPE submits that the Senate Committee should recommend that the Fair Work Act be amended to ensure that Enterprise Agreements not be permitted to be approved if the employer has changed corporate entities during the bargaining process. This practice should be specified in the Fair Work Act as an unfair bargaining practice and should be prohibited.
AIMPE has also been involved in enterprise bargaining where a member of senior management has participated in the bargaining as an employee representative. This is not consistent with the intent of the bargaining provisions. If senior management are employees then they should have a separate Enterprise Agreement in which case it would be appropriate for them to be bargaining representatives. But when the bargaining process is intended to produce a general Enterprise Agreement for employees the process is rendered unfair if senior management participate as employee representatives.
AIMPE Recommendation 7
AIMPE submits that the Senate Committee should recommend that the Fair Work Act should be amended to provide that no member of senior management in a company should be permitted to be an employee bargaining representative unless the bargaining is exclusively for a management Enterprise Agreement.
INPEX Agreement signed
On 24th January in Perth AIMPE, AMOU and MUA representatives gathered with Inpex representatives for the ceremonial signing of the arrangements agreed in late 2016 to cover the maritime aspects of the Ichthys Project. This is an umbrella arrangement - each contractor/employer on the project will still operate under their own Enterprise Agreements. For more info go to:
In more good news for the Australian maritime industry, another LNG power vessell has arrived in Australia - and commenced operation on LNG immediately. To see report in click on this link Offshore section
Revalidation extension til 30 June 2017 (posted 19th dec) see attached Marine Notice from AMSA:
Searoad Mersey II arrives (posted 11th Dec 2016)
Marine Engineering Courses for 2017
Searoad Mersey II arrives
(posted 11th Dec 2016, updated 13th Dec 2016)
There is a new ship on the Australian coast.
The newly built LNG / diesel powered ro-ro ship Searoad Mersey II arrived in Devonport Tasmania on 11th December 2016 with the locals lining the banks of the River Mersey to get a view of the latest addition to the Bass Strait fleet.
This Australian flag, Australian crewed ship is a demonstration of the confidence that Searoad has in the future of the Bass Strait trade. The foundation of this confidence is the fact that both the Tasmanian State Government and the Federal Government have shown strong support for the Bass Strait trades. This includes financial support for the freight equalisation plan which is funded to the tune of around $50 million per annum from the Federal Budget.
AIMPE officials visited the ship upon arrival and members provided an escorted tour of the highly automated engine room, machinery spaces and LNG fuelling zone. The ship travelled to Australia on diesel fuel because of the long distances involved in the passage from Germany via Las Palmas, Cape Town and Fremantle. However it will need to commence operations in the Bass Strait on diesel because there has been a delay in the delivery of the LNG tanker-trailers which will provide the long-term fueling system.
AIMPE officials welcome the Delivery Engineers - Federal Secretary Martin Byrne, C/E Adrian Cazaly, 2/E Steve McLaren, 3/E Michael Farrugia, 1/E Matthew Best, C/E Jon Ritchie and Senior National Organiser Nathan Niven.
The ship is being promoted as the clean, green way of the future - because of the reduced emissions from the use of LNG fuel. The above picture shows the LNG fueling station which is located on the weather deck at the aft of the ship. This and the adjacent cryogenic room are just some of the new systems that the Searoad Mersey II Engineers will have to manage once the LNG road tankers are delivered from Italy.
In the main engineroom apart from the spic and span, shiny brand-new appearance, one of the big changes is in the level of electronic monitoring and control systems installed. Note the cabled boxes on the engine side. Virtually all machinery is monitored and can be remotely controlled. What's more most of the monitored and logged equipment have their own IP address - the control systems are more advanced than on most other Australian coastal ships.
The main engines and auxillaries are MaK built and are some of the first constructed for LNG/diesel operation. Due to space considerations the E/R Control Room is separated from the machinery spaces by the main swithboard room:
AIMPE has congratulated Searoad for the courage to make such a big investment at a time when most sectors of the coastal shipping industry have been in decline.
Searoad Media release
Searoad Mersey II represents an investment of more than $110 million in the future of Tasmania and its connectedness to the mainland and the world. It is the first coastal ship in Australia to use clean, green LNG fuel-and-power technology and the first pure dry cargo ship globally to use a roll-on roll-off LNG supply system.
It will also be the first new vessel this century specifically designed and commissioned for the Bass Strait trade.
All of the ship’s principal engines are dual-fuel, burning LNG as the primary source of energy to give significantly reduced emissions, minimal risk of oil pollution, greater operational efficiencies and sustainable future environmental benefits. In regular service Searoad Mersey II will use diesel for less than 1% of ship operations.
The innovative design anticipates strict marine air pollution regulations that already apply in parts of Europe and North America and which are likely to be enacted in Australia in the future.
Marine Engineering Courses for 2017
Details of the courses being offered by the Hunter Institute of TAFE at Newcastle, NSW, are now available.
Go to the Marine Engineering page for course dates and costs:
AIMPE s.457 Submission to Federal Government
(posted 23 11 16)
AIMPE is continuing to press for the removal of the “Ships Engineer” classification from both the Skilled Occupations Lists (SOL) and the Consolidated Skilled Occupations Lists (CSOL). This will prevent new s.457 visas being issued by the Immigration Department.
The occupation of "Ships Engineer" has been flagged on the Department of Education and Training website for possible removal from the SOL - along with a number of other occupations. However AIMPE has been lobbying for the removal of the classification from both lists.
If the ‘Ships Engineer’ is removed from the SOL but left on the CSOL then new s.457 visas will still be able to be issued.
AIMPE has compiled a submission for the Ministerial Advisory Council on Skilled Migration [MACSM] in support of our campaign to have the "Ships Engineer" classification removed from SOL and CSOL. The submission addresses the drastic change in the labour market that has taken place over the last two years.
Members can read the submission here:
AIMPE_Submission_to_MACSM_14_09_16.pdf (1020.15 KB)
The Seacare system will shrink dramatically if the legislation presented to the House of Representative in October is approved by Federal Parliament. Possibly one third of the seafarers currently covered by the Seacare scheme may no longer be covered by the Seacare scheme and may instead fall under various State and Territory compensation and OHS laws.
All seafarers on floating production facilities including FSOs and FPSOs will be excluded from coverage under the Seacare system.
In addition vessels operating in “designated waters” will fall outside the Seacare system and seafarers on such ships will only be covered if the operators of the vessels decide to opt-in to the Seacare system. This provision will impact on seafarers working on ships engaged in intra-state trade e.g. the Queensland bauxite trade. It will also leave seafarers who work in the Offshore Oil and Gas sector in a similar position if the vessel that they are working on is in designated waters.
AIMPE will make submissions opposing the passage of the Seafarers and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 and urging the reconsideration of this Bill.
Mr Angus Taylor, Member for Hume and Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation presented the Bills to the House of Representatives (the responsible Minister is Senator Michaelia Cash, Minster for Employment). In his Second Reading speech Assistant Minister Hume said:
There is clearly a need to modernise the scheme's work health and safety arrangements to ensure that seafarers are adequately protected and to update its workers' compensation arrangements to restore the historic link with the Comcare scheme.
The changing profile of the maritime industry over the last 20 years has also made it more difficult for both maritime industry employers and employees to work out if they fall within the scheme's coverage.
A Federal Court decision in 2014 significantly expanded the coverage of the Seacare scheme casting further doubt on the scheme's coverage.
Finally, the governance of the Seacare scheme is overly complex for its small size, and its regulatory bodies are not adequately funded to perform their functions.
Far from protecting seafarers current rights, the proposed legislation will toss many seafarers out of the Seacare scheme and back to one of the State schemes – at least as long as the vessel that they are working on is in “designated waters”. If the vessel ceases working in “designated waters” then the seafarers may revert back to Seacare coverage.
The Assistant Minister states that it is more difficult to work out the scheme coverage – so the Bill proposes to carve out all areas that have been seen as problems. That is all of the areas where employers would prefer not to be under Seacare but would rather be under State or Territory laws.
In 2014 the Federal Court decision in Samson v Aucote decided that the coverage of the Seacare legislation was much wider than many people had previously treated it. However the particular vessel at the centre of the case was one which the Seacare Authority regarded as within the scheme – it was listed in the Seacare Authority annual report.
As to the concern that the scheme is overly complex and the regulatory bodies are underfunded well the Seacare Authority is administered by the Department of Employment at a relatively modest cost and AMSA carries out the Inspectorate functions – which it will continue to do under the proposed changes!
The introduction of the Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessels) National Law 2012 was intended to be a major step towards a single national maritime industry in Australia. The first objective of that law stated that it was:
“(a) to form a part of a cooperative scheme between the Commonwealth, the States and the Northern Territory that provides a single national framework for ensuring the safe operation, design, construction and equipping of domestic commercial vessels”
Now the Federal Government wants to dismember the existing national scheme for Australian seafarers’ workers compensation, rehabilitation and occupational health and safety rights and entitlements.
AIMPE has made many submissions over recent years to the effect that the Seacare scheme coverage should be amended to ensure that all the grey areas are resolved by making it clear that they are covered by the Seacare scheme.
This was the key part of the AIMPE submission to the 2012-13 Review of Seacare:
AIMPE submits that the coverage of the Seacare scheme should be clarified to ensure that all seafarers working in Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone are covered by both the Seafarers Act and the OHS(MI) Act.
This should not be done by reliance solely on provisions of the Navigation Act 1912 nor should it be done by reliance solely on provisions of the Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessels) Act. Neither of these new Acts have comprehensive coverage provisions.
The Seacare scheme is a sectoral scheme intended principally for the protection and benefit of seafarers working in Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone. One method of defining the boundaries of the scheme, or the scope of coverage of the scheme, would be to identify and define the seafarers covered by the scheme. This should be clear in each of the Acts and consistent between the two Acts.
The term “seafarers” should be defined as all persons working on commercial vessels within the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone. This should include all persons working on Australian registered vessels and all persons working on foreign flag vessels operating in the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone.
AIMPE wants the Seacare scheme to be expanded and not to be shrunk as this surrent Bill would do.
The proposed legislation excludes various types of vessels from coverage. Importantly one group of vessels excluded are offshore floating storage or production units. Exclusion of FSOs and FPSOs is not agreed by AIMPE. This would exclude the following vessels:
- Dampier Spirit
- Montara Venture
- Ngujima Yin
- Ningaloo Vision
There has been argument about the inclusion of some of the above vessels in the Seacare scheme however they are all identified in the Seacare Annual Report 2015-16 at Appendix 3 although some have gained exemptions under s20A of the Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act. Several of these vessels are covered by current Enterprise Agreements which specify that the Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act will apply to seafarers on board. One effect of the proposed legislation would be to deny the employees covered by the Enterprise Agreements their current entitlements.
The Bill also proposes that the definition of offshore industry mobile unit includes an offshore industry living quarters barge. Such a definition may stretch to include a cruise ship or accommodation vessel which is being deployed for offshore purposes. These vessels would be excluded from the Seacare scheme. The Costa Concordia is just one recent and tragic reminder of the risks involved with the operation of such vessels. Full maritime regulations and controls should continue to apply to such vessels.
The proposed legislation also intends that vessels operating in “designated waters” of a particular State or Territory would not be covered. AIMPE is concerned that several trading ships which have been covered by the Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) Act would also have the current coverage arrangement disturbed including:
- Accolade II
- RTM Piiramu
- RTM Twarra
- RTM Wakmatha
- RTM Weipa
AIMPE notes that these 5 vessels are all identified in the Seacare Annual Report and have all been routinely and regularly covered by the Seacare legislation. AIMPE would be most concerned if seafarers employed on these vessels were to have their long-standing entitlements denied. The operators/employers would presumably have to go through the opt-in process in order that status quo be maintained.
Furthermore the concept of “designated waters” could be exploited by some vessel operators to argue that certain offshore oil and gas vessels are not covered under the new definitions. Currently the largest single group of vessels under the Seacare scheme is categorised as Offshore vessels. AIMPE is opposed to this change because it could see those personnel on Offshore vessels who currently are within the Seacare scheme falling out of the coverage of the legislation if this amendment goes through. This would not be a ‘steady state’ coverage model but a radical reduction in scope of coverage. Again it may be countered that this could be dealt with by the opt-in mechanism however this is an unsatisfactory outcome and one which will generate confusion and uncertainty in the sector.
There is a three year maximum time frame on the length of an opt-in declaration application. Why? If an owner or operator would prefer a 10 year declaration why should that not be permitted? See proposed s25E(4).
The proposed s25M provides for exemption of employment of some or all employees. Why?
The maritime industry is a dangerous industry and has been recognised as such for many years. However the Australian maritime industry is relatively small in terms of the number of employees covered under the Seacare scheme. It is certainly far smaller than the pool of workers covered by the Comcare scheme. Without clear and separate reporting there is a risk that the maritime industry issues will be masked and as a consequence may be ignored.
AIMPE is of the view that the proposed Bill should be amended to require the retention of separate Annual Reporting of the maritime industry compensation, rehabilitation and OHS statistics no less comprehensive than the reporting under the existing Seacare legislation.
For 23 years the Seacare scheme has enjoyed oversight by a tripartite group called the Seacare Authority with employer and employee representatives as well as the relevant Government representatives and an Independent Chairperson. Only the Chair of the Authority received any remuneration. The Bill proposes to abolish the Authority. In its place the chairperson of the SRCC “may constitute a committee”. This ‘Seacare Advisory Group’ is not mandatory. The composition is not required to demonstrate an equal balance between employer and employee representatives just a minimum of one employer and one employee representative.
The Seacare Advisory Group should be a mandatory requirement and the employer and employee representation should be equivalent. The group should include 3 employer and 3 employee representatives.
The current Seafarers legislation provides for occupational diseases to be declared. Various diseases have been declared including asbestos related diseases. Clarification will also be sought that none of the diseases on the original list will be removed.
(updated 05 09 16)
The Seacare Scheme was subject to legislative amendment by the Abbott Government in 2015. With support from various cross-bench Senators the amendment was not pursued.
AIMPE made a submission about that Amendment Bill, you can read it here:
However it now appears that a version of the 2015 Bill will be presented to the new 45th Parliament in late 2016. The Department of Employment has advised AIMPE and the other 'industry stakeholders' that:
"It is proposed the revised and reduced reform package will clarify the coverage of the scheme, modernise the scheme’s work health and safety arrangements, make necessary and overdue updates to the Seafarers Act, improve governance arrangements and introduce a cost recovery mechanism."
The advice from the Department included a table of changes which can be read here: Amendments_arising_from_the_2012-13_Review_29_08_16.pdf (198.72 KB)
As at date of posting, the latest version of the draft legislation is not yet available.
(posted 02 09 16)
The latest development in the Offshore Resources Activities saga is that the High Court has found that the Determination made by Minister Dutton in late 2015 is invalid. A summary of the High Court decision can be seen below. This is a very good result and deserves congratulations. The MUA and AMOU progressed this litigation.
However the power still exists in the ORA for the Minister to make a Determination providing exemptions or exceptions to the application of the Migration Act as amended. On the reasoning of the High Court, the Minister could still find a way to make a new Determination although it would have to be more limited. The Ministerial power to make Determination giving exceptions should be repealed.
But s457s still allowed in Offshore
What is more problematic however is that other provisions of the Migration Act will still allow the Immigration Department to issue new s457 visas to Ships Engineers [and the Ships Masters and Ships Officers].
For Engineers and Deck Officers the win in the High Court is not the end of the problem. Our problem remains that the s457 visas can still be issued. 100 new s457 visas were issued for Ships Engineers in 2015-16. It is for this reason that AIMPE is concentrating efforts on having the classification of Ships Engineer removed from the Skilled Occupations List [SOL] and the Consolidated Skilled Occupations List [CSOL].
What can members do?
AIMPE members can write to their local Federal MP – the lists are available below in the Latest News section devoted to the s457 campaign.
Any member who is lucky enough to get a response from their MP should follow up with a request for a face to face meeting with their MP. The squeaky wheel gets the oil!
Member bashed in Tasmania
(posted 31 08 16)
AIMPE member Aiden Allen has posted the following message on Facebook:
After a great night of food a drinks in Launceston for a 20 year AMC reunion I am very sad to say that one of our Marine engineering brothers was viciously assaulted. Rory Sain has been in a coma in Hobart ICU for 2 weeks now with head trauma. For those that have sailed with Rory or anyone that would like to offer support for Rory and his family in this time of need an account has been set up. Rory is a Sydney home porter and his parents are by his side in Hobart. Any support would go along way to easing the already high strain on the family. Deposits can be made at any Australia Post office using:
Postbillpay code - 4259
Refrence No - 2504 7357 8052 9069
Alternatively internet banking using Pay Anyone:
BSB - 880101
Account No - 578 052 906
Please feel free to message me regarding Rory. There is still a long way to go. Please support any way you can. We are an ocean going family after all.
AIMPE Federal Secretary Martin Byrne has followed up with the following message on 30 08 16:
I’ve just spoken with Rory’s father Alan Sain who is in Hobart with his wife and has been visiting Rory three times a day since they got down to Tassie. (Rory was originally admitted to the Launceston Hospital but transferred to Hobart where the neuro specialists are located.)
Rory has now been taken off the ventilator and is breathing independently.
The doctors have also stopped the sedation and are allowing those drugs to work their way out of his system.
The neck brace has been removed as they no longer suspect any spinal injury.
All of which is good news.
However he has not regained consciousness yet and only when he does will they be able to establish the full extent of the injuries.
For those who are not aware, the police did apprehend a suspect and he has been charged but released on bail. Apparently the arrest was based on CCTV footage. Rory’s father told me that the police have been very good and of course are upset that the attacker has been released.
AMSA [his employer] have been advised and have also been supportive.
AMSA warns that a large number of seafarers Certificates of Competency will expire in December and urges holders to apply for renewal asap.
Read the Notice here: Marine Notice 14 of 2016 (51.48 KB)
AMSA has plans to make your new Certificate of Competency a piece of plastic!
See more details:
plastic certificate of competency by AMSA.pdf (815.17 KB)!
CONTACT YOUR MP
(posted 25 08 16)
AIMPE members are encouraged to contact their local MP to explain to the individual MP the real life consequences of the Government's current policy about continuing to issue s.457 visas.
Following the 2nd July Federal Election there is a new crop of Members and Senators in Canberra. Many of the new Parliamentarians will not be aware of the issue that AIMPE has been campaigning on - the need to remove the classification of 'Ships Engineer' from the Skilled Occupations List [SOL] and the Consolidated Skilled Occupations List [CSOL].
Every letter and email is useful. It is even better if the initial letter or email can be followed up with a phone call and a request for a face to face meeting. There is nothing more powerful than a face to face discussion. It brings the issue to life. The hundreds of Austrlaian Engineers currently looking for work are not just numbers - they are real people.
Below are the contact detials that you need to take action.
Do it now!
Full List of Members of the House of Representatives
Members_HoR_List_18_08_16.pdf (182.10 KB)
Full List of Senators
List_of_Senators_as_as_22_08_16.pdf (144.52 KB)
Ministers in the Turnbull Government
Ministerial_list_Turnbull_Govt_19_07_16.pdf (28.64 KB)
Opposition Shadown Ministers
AIMPE’s campaign to stop the Federal Government issuing s.457 visas to “Ships Engineers” continues following the 2016 Federal Election. So too does the AIMPE campaign to fix the “Allseas loophole” which was exposed in 2012 and has been exploited by the Offshore sector ever since.
Full statistics on the numbers of s.457 visas issued by the Federal Government over the last decade reveal that there are still hundreds of visas that have been issued within the last 4 years for “Ships Engineers” meaning that there are hundreds of jobs being filled by visa holders while at the same time there are hundreds of qualified Australian Marine Engineers ready willing and able to do the work.
In 2014-15 a total of 174 new visas were issued for “Ships Engineers”. This is less than half of the number issued in 2012-13 at the height of the resources construction boom. However the boom is well and truly over and the Federal Government has been far too slow to respond.
AIMPE calls on the incoming Federal Government (whoever it is) to immediately remove the occupation of “Ships Engineer” from the two lists which are used to justify the issuing of work visas – the Skill Occupations List (SOL) and the Consolidated Skilled Occupations List (CSOL).
It simply makes no sense for the Federal Government to issue more temporary visas when there are hundreds of qualified Australians who are unemployed and ready to work. The data obtained by AIMPE reveals that in the last 4 years 820 temporary visas have been issued for “Ships Engineers”. The majority of these have been issued in WA – 477 in total. A further 140 were issued in Qld and 96 in NSW.
The table of statistics does show that the numbers have been dropping and only 92 new visas were issued between 1st July 2015 and 31st March 2016. However none of these 92 new visas needed to be issued. By 1st July 2015 it was patently obvious that the boom was over and Australian Marine Engineers were being put out of work.
The need for new s457 visas was significantly reduced in 2015 however when the then Assistant Minister Senator Cash issued a Ministerial Determination which effectively waived the requirement for foreign citizens working in the Offshore from needing any visa at all. Then, in December 2015, the current Minister Mr Dutton revoked the Cash Determination but replaced it with his own Determination which led to the same result – no visa required for any Offshore workers! So a drop in the number of s457 visas is not really too surprising.
AIMPE has been supplying the Department of Immigration and the Department of Infrastructure and Transport with copies of our National Employment Roster to demonstrate the current conditions in the Australian maritime labour market. This has been done on a fortnightly basis for many months.
The responses that AIMPE has received have on occasions been appalling. AIMPE has been told by one bureaucrat that the Labour Market Testing means nothing more than that the companies have to advertise. He said that they do not have to employ Australians who reply to the advertising. The companies just have to advertise.
Is it any surprise that the political elites in Canberra are on the nose with a large proportion of the Australian population when they can show such utter contempt for the people who ultimately fund their wages?
Furthermore the Department of Immigration has revealed that it does not do any systematic auditing of the companies who sponsor Temporary Visas to ensure that they are carrying out their obligation to provide training for Australians to do the work which is being performed by the s.457 personnel. It apparently does not care or is not capable of monitoring this important aspect of the migration system.
The Prime Minister’s strategy of calling a double dissolution election guaranteed that there would be plenty of minor party Senators elected as a result of the Federal Election on Saturday 2nd July. The new Senate will be harder for the Coalition to deal with than the previous Senate. However it appears that the Coalition may depend on cross-bench Members in the House of Representatives to be able to govern effectively.
AIMPE will continue the strategy of lobbying all sides of the Parliament to stop the stupidity of the Immigration policy of the last Government and make sure that the “Ships Engineer” jobs in Australian waters go to qualified Australian Marine Engineers.
Number of s457 visas granted since 2005 is available as a table here:
s457 visas granted for Ships Engineers (186.35 KB)
ETO Certificate of Competency:
Existing Electricians (& Engineers with Electrical Trade) please act now
Marine Electricians &
Engineers with Electrical Trade
If you have 12 month’s service (on any vessel including MODUs, Dredges, FPSOs )as a Marine Electrician,
If you have an Electrical TRADE and are qualified as a Marine Engineer and also do electrical work onboard in addition to your watchkeeping duties,
then there is a very good chance that AMSA may exercise it’s discretion to grant you issue of an ETO CoC.
These special discretions are only available up until 1 January 2017.
If you are interested you should act without delay.
An Application Form 419 can be obtained from http://www.amsa.gov.au/forms-and-publications/international/forms/Seafarers/AMSA419.asp and you will need to follow the instructions and pay the relevant AMSA fees for AMSA to consider your case.
The AMSA website at http://www.amsa.gov.au/forms-and-publications/fact-sheets/AMSA1610.pdf provides a ‘Fact Sheet’ indicating how existing ‘Marine Electricians’ (& Engineers with Electrical TRADE) can take advantage of the transitional provisions under STCW to be issued before 1 January 2017 with an Electro Technical Officer Certificate of Competency (‘ETO CoC’).
If in any doubt you may also ring:
AIMPE Director Professional Development Mr Henning Christiansen on 0419 400 324 or AIMPE Director Professional Standards Mr Jim Mallows on 0417 042 760 to discuss.
Despite the published cut-off dates for the 12 month’s sea service as a Marine Electrician, we are so far not aware of any AIMPE member being refused the exercise of AMSA’s discretion referred to above.
So ALL serving Marine Electricians should now make formal application for ETO CoC via Form 419. This includes Electricians who retrained as Engineers years ago and have since then done Electrical work as well as Watchkeeping. Case by case it may also include serving Engineers who did Watchkeeper CoC on the basis of an Electrical Trade and have since then done Electrical work as well as Watchkeeping for at least the 12 months service.
Issue of the ETO CoC by AMSA will not occur until the applicant has also completed/satisfied each of:-
- “Proficiency in Survival Craft & Rescue Boats other than Fast Rescue Boats”
- “Advanced Fire Fighting”
- “Medical First Aid”
- “Basic Safety Training/Security Awareness”
- “AMSA Certificate of Medical Fitness”
AMSA advises that an offshore industry HUET or TBOSIET does not substitute for the first of these short courses.
Marine Electricians have asked about the relationship of their existing Certificate of Safety Training (‘CoST’) to any of the above as it covers similar material, but to a lesser standard, than the first two of these courses. AMSA advises that until you get your ETO CoC, your employment as a ‘Marine Electrician’ relies on you maintaining your Certificate of Safety Training (“CoST”); and
If you have the sea service as a ‘Marine Electrician’ to be issued an ETO CoC then it may be a better expenditure of your money to get the short-courses, described in “Option 1” in the AMSA Fact Sheet, as swiftly as possible before your CoST expires; and
Of the listed short courses, even if you have only completed “Proficiency in Survival Craft & Rescue Boats other than Fast Rescue Boats” + “Advanced Fire Fighting” then this is the same material as in the CoST but at a higher standard, so you do NOT need CoST if you have these 2 courses. With these 2 you can continue working as a ‘Marine Electrician’ as if you held a CoST….bearing in mind the approaching 1 January 2017 deadline, of course, that may or may not affect you depending on the Flag of the vessel you are serving on and the requirements of that Flag-State maritime authority in respect of ETO certification.
You should then move to attend all the remaining short courses listed in Option 1 as soon as you can after that.
The Queensland Government is holding an enquiry into the labour hire industry in Qld. AIMPE's submission can be viewed here: Qld Gov labour hire investigation AIMPE submission (319.69 KB)
Liberal's 457 Visa Scam allows foreign workers to replace Australian marine engineers; see more, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBrdq3cRRJo
Left: Senator Jacqui Lambie with AIMPE members Stephen Dalton (l) and Adrian Morris (r) both made redundant when the Destine was replaced by the ICS Reliance in Sydney Harbour.
More here from Senator Lambie on the 457 visa crisis:
To contact your MP open this list for contact details: MPs contact details (174.17 KB)