Federal Parliament recently passed historic new laws which regulate the safety of ships and seafarers and ensure shipping is conducted in a manner which protects Australia’s precious marine environment. (The bill is now waiting Royal Assent.)
New maritime laws for Australia’s waters
The passing of the Navigation Bill 2012 and the Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law Bill 2012 also give effect to Australia’s obligations under various International Maritime Organization conventions and establishes the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) as the single national maritime regulator.
Shipping is a crucial part of the Australian transport system with almost all our imports and exports carried by ship.
The safety and efficiency of our shipping industry is critical to our economic prosperity and that’s why these reforms are so important. They represent the most significant overhaul of the regulation and management of Australia’s maritime industry since 1912.
The 100 year old Navigation Act was first drafted by the Fisher Labor Government and a century later the task of modernising this legislation has been taken up by this Labor Government.
The National Law Bill replaces eight existing federal, state and territory regulators with one national marine safety regulator and a single national law, releasing manufacturers, operators and crews of commercial vessels from the current costly and confusing array of regulations.
The creation of a national system will lift safety standards, reduce red tape and provide better protections for our fragile marine environment from pollution and accidents.
In June this year, the Senate passed the Government’s Stronger Shipping for a Stronger Economy reforms.
Those reforms, combined with these new laws, cement Australia’s standing as a shipping nation and carry us forward into a brighter maritime future.