Constituency Statement: Australian Ports and Maritime Industry

29 November 2023

Ms BYRNES (Cunningham) (09:39): This week here in Parliament House we had the inaugural meeting of the Parliamentary Friends of Ports. Together with my co-chair, the member for Leichhardt, we had the pleasure of hosting members of Ports Australia, including port owners and operators, of all shapes and sizes; their supply chains, such as tugboat operators; port authorities; maritime unions; and pilot organisations—just to name a few. I would like to thank Ports Australia CEO Mike Gallacher and the chairman, Stewart Lammin, for organising the evening, and I also thank Minister King for joining us to celebrate the thriving port industry here in Australia.

Representing Port Kembla in the room were NSW Ports CEO Marika Calfas and Philip Holliday from the Port Authority of NSW. Rochelle Macdonald from Squadron Energy was also there from our area. Representing the Labor movement were Mich-Elle Myers and Dean Summers from the MUA and ITF, and they both work so hard to keep our port workers and seafarers safe at work. In the room were special guests from abroad, including Eranda Kotelawala and his team from the Solomon Islands port terminal; Patricia Ruf, administrative board member of Liebherr international; and Leopold Berthold, managing director of Liebherr's maritime and cargo division. All had travelled to our country for this occasion. I also met with Videlina Georgieva, the managing director of Svitzer Australia, who was a third-generation maritime worker.

This in itself is an example of how our ports can play an important role in fostering bilateral relations with our neighbours in the region. Australia is a trading nation, and the government is doing all it can to foster trade with our neighbours. On our watch, trade has been restored with China, while new opportunities and markets have developed in India and other countries, ensuring our quality grain, food, wine and even world-class education have a market. We are determined to overcome the false moves of the previous government and provide brighter opportunities for all of Australia. It is important for industry and government to work hand in glove on matters of trade and commerce, and I am proud of the record of this Labor government.

I am also fiercely proud of the port community I represent in Port Kembla, which is one of the busiest ports within New South Wales and indeed Australia, containing bulk-handling facilities for metallurgical coal, grain and industrial and mineral products associated with BlueScope Steel. It also the chief port for the importation of vehicles within New South Wales. Port Kembla is part of the Illawarra's proud industrial heritage, having acted as gateway for Australia's innovation and industrial transformation over the decades. Port Kembla is not alone in this regard. Ports all over Australia have contributed and are contributing to our economic development and prosperity.