Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss has released an options paper detailing the announcement and overhaul of the Coastal Shipping regime. “Right now our domestic shipping industry is treading water, bound in red tape, and unable to be competitive both domestically and internationally,” Mr Truss said at the 2014 International Association of Ports & Harbours Mid-Term Conference in Sydney. An options paper released by the office of Mr Truss comments that various sections of the Coastal Trading Act have “caused uncertainty and confusion about who the Act is supposed to support.” The paper specifically points to certain parts of section 3 of the Act (dealing with broad economic matters) which has been interpreted by shippers as meaning that they will be given support whereas carriers point to other parts of the same section (dealing with cabotage licence provisions) where they will be given favourable consideration.

The options paper sets out three broad policy options:

1. Do away with all regulation of all access to coastal trading in all Acts of Parliament – which would affect laws relating to customs, quarantine, immigration, revenues, and restricted goods among others

2. Repeal the Coastal Trading Act and enact other laws to deal with other issues such as the customs tariff issues on the import of ships

3. Continue to regulate the coastal trade but change aspects of the existing regime e.g. remove or relax the five voyage minimum requirement to get a temporary licence.

The options paper also explores issues related to the shipping register, the application of the Fair Work Act to coastal trading and cruise shipping and the tourism industry.