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8 May 2007 020TRS/Budget

The Australian Maritime College (AMC) will merge with the University of Tasmania on 1 January 2008, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, De-Anne Kelly, announced today.

The integration date is subject to the passage of amendments through Parliament, which are needed to repeal the Maritime College Act 1978 and transfer the AMC's assets to the University of Tasmania.

Mrs Kelly said the merger would ensure the viability of the AMC as Australia's national centre for maritime education, research and training.

She said the AMC would operate as an institute within the university with its own board, which would include experts in the shipping industry, shipping safety, and the certification of seafarer training.

She said AMC students would have the same rights and privileges as the other students of the university.

"The merger will not affect the staff or students of the AMC," Mrs Kelly said.

"In fact, it will enable the AMC to provide even better education and research. In addition, it will be more able to respond to the changing demand for its internationally recognised programs."

Mrs Kelly said employees of the AMC immediately prior to the date of integration, whose employment would have otherwise continued beyond the date of integration, would transfer to university employment.

She said there would be no involuntary redundancies of AMC employees as a direct result of the integration.

Mrs Kelly said the AMC and the university were both seeking opportunities to develop greater capabilities and rationalise their costs.

She said the merger was the most sensible approach to achieving these goals, given the existing relationship between the two institutions, their close geographic proximity and the genuine opportunities for growing the important work of the AMC.

"The AMC is a world-class organisation which has served Australia well," Mrs Kelly said.

"The merger will ensure it can continue leading the way in maritime training, education and research."

The Australian Maritime College is based in Launceston and was established in 1978 as Australia's national institution for maritime education and training. It is one of the world's best equipped maritime training institutions. It had 740 full-time equivalent students in 2006.

Media contact: James Larsson 02 6277 7060/0434 305 130