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The Liberal and Nationals Government has today announced an independent review (the Review) of the legal framework regulating the safety of domestic commercial vessels in Australia.

Australia’s maritime industry employs thousands of Australians and underpins the economies of regional coastal communities, while contributing to the overall growth and prosperity of our nation.

Having effective safety regulations for vessels and seafarers – including across tourism, transport and fishing operations – will ensure the industry remains viable and successful into the future.

An independent review was part of the Government’s response to recent inquiries and we are delivering on our commitment.

The Review will consider whether the National System for Domestic Commercial Vessel Safety is fit for purpose, focusing on the capacity of the legislation to support safe vessel operations, minimise regulatory and administrative burden for industry, and transparency. It will also assess the costs and charges associated with the legislation.

Additionally, the Government has tasked the independent review panel with specifically considering:
• whether the legislation interacts effectively with other Commonwealth and state and territory legislative frameworks, as well as with international maritime safety obligations; and
• whether expanding the Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s role to include domestic commercial vessel safety could support substantially improved safety outcomes for industry, as well as regulators and policy-makers.

The Review will be led by Mr Michael Carmody AO, a former Australian Taxation Commissioner. He will be supported by Ms Carolyn Walsh, Chair of the National Transport Commission, and Mr John Harrison, with commercial fishing industry expertise.

The Government encourages industry to have their say on the legislation when the Review commences early next year.


Industry Body Maritime Industry Australia wlcomed the announcement
MIAL said it had been eight years since the implementation of the National Transport Regulatory Reform, which saw all state and Northern Territory maritime regulatory regimes brought under the one national umbrella.

MIA chief executive officer Teresa Lloyd said, “Implementation of the National Law has been an incredibly challenging task, but we must now concentrate on moving from the necessary transitional complexity to a streamlined framework which, at its core, embodies a flexible, risk-based approach to safety management. “This is critical to allowing maritime businesses to be innovative, tailor their safe practices to be specific to their operations, while having the confidence to grow their businesses and invest in new technology.”

The second stage of the review will examine the current and future service delivery costs and charges, the efficiency of the regulator, and the impact on industry of potential increased regulatory service costs, considering the very wide spectrum of domestic commercial vessel operations.“MIAL is very keen to see cross subsidisation of industry sectors eliminated as soon as possible, and we will be looking to Government to extend the current budget appropriation for National System service delivery for at least a further 12 months while the cost and charges aspects of the Review are considered,” Ms Lloyd said.

On the timeframe outlined for the review, Ms Lloyd said, “We’re very keen on having this review completed as soon as possible following a meaningful consultation process that secures well-supported review recommendations.”

Source : Daily Cargo News