Ports are a critical lifeline for Australia’s economy and the port industry is under siege from the cost of living and the impact of climate change.
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union is holding a series of protests in a bid to save the job of hundreds of dockworkers at Port Moresby in the central Australian state of Tasmania.
It’s the latest round of strikes to hit the port in recent years.
The union said on Wednesday that the workers had been locked out of the terminal for six weeks and it is threatening to strike on Sunday.
A spokeswoman for the port said the workers have been advised of the strike and the Port of Launceston has issued a statement saying it was “deeply disappointed” by the actions of the workers.
The statement said the port has been “forced to shut down and relocate” workers due to the increased cost of running the terminal.
The workers have called for a general strike on the weekend of November 20 and the workers are also calling for a moratorium on new port closures.
The latest strike comes as the Labor Party is facing a backlash from its members over the government’s decision to scrap the carbon tax.
The tax, which has been the target of a series strike actions, will be replaced with a scheme that will see a reduction in fuel tax.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says he wants to abolish the carbon price and Labor has not ruled out the possibility of a national carbon price.
But he has not specified what the price should be, and said he was not “comfortable” with it being higher than what the government was proposing.
A new report from the Australian Tax Office says that if the price were to be raised to $30 per tonne by 2021, the average annual carbon price for the next four years would be $17 per ton.
The report also found that if emissions were to continue to rise by 2 per cent per year at an average of 2.4 per cent a year, the price would rise to $35 per ton by 2021.
“This is not an option we are willing to accept,” Mr Shorten said.
The ABC’s Julia Jones reports from the dockworkers’ protest in Port Moreby.