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Section 1: Agency Overview and Resources

1.1: Strategic direction

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is a statutory authority established under the Australian Maritime Safety Authority Act 1990 (AMSA Act), with the primary role to:

  • promote maritime safety and protection of the marine environment;

  • prevent and combat ship-sourced pollution in the marine environment;

  • provide infrastructure to support safety of navigation in Australian waters;

  • provide a national search and rescue service to the maritime and aviation sectors;

  • provide, on request, services to the maritime industry on a commercial basis; and

  • provide, on request, services of a maritime nature on a commercial basis to the Commonwealth and/or States and Territories.

AMSA's vision is: To be a superior provider of maritime safety, marine environment protection, and maritime and aviation search and rescue and it contributes to Outcome 1: Fostering an efficient, sustainable, competitive, safe and secure transport system.

Cost Recovery and Purchaser-Provider arrangements

AMSA's ship safety and environment protection services are fully cost recovered from the shipping industry mainly through three statutory levies and fee for service sources, in line with the Australian Government's policy decision when AMSA was established in 1990. AMSA's search and rescue coordination services are met by the Australian Government through Budget Community Service Obligation funding. Australia is obliged under several international conventions to provide search and rescue services for persons in aircraft and vessels in distress in Australia's internationally designated search and rescue region.

AMSA has entered into an agreement with the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government (Infrastructure) for a purchaser-provider arrangement to cover the provision of transport safety assistance to Indonesia.

Funds for the project are to be appropriated to Infrastructure and subsequently provided to AMSA in 2008-09.

There are no new budget measures affecting AMSA in the 2008-2009 Budget and no changes in AMSA's functions arising from the Administrative Arrangements Orders of 25 January 2008 or related Machinery of Government changes.

External environment

The major external factors expected to influence AMSA's delivery of its services and performance during 2008-2009 and in the years beyond are listed below:

  • The International Maritime Organization promoting action by Member States to: participate in the IMO voluntary Member State Audit Scheme, ratify and implement its conventions to bring them into force internationally, extend the international regime of liability and compensation for damage from ship sourced pollution, strengthen regulation of human factors in ship safety by reviewing international standards for seafarer training, certification and watchkeeping and address climate change issues in relation to the shipping industry.

  • The International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities work in developing new and upgraded standards for marine aids to navigation, including the Automatic Identification System and E-navigation.

  • The Cospas-Sarsat international satellite system decision to cease satellite processing of 121.5 megahertz distress beacon alerts from February 2009 and the global campaign for the uptake and registration of 406 megahertz beacons.

  • The International Labour Organization promoting adoption of its instruments governing maritime industry labour standards, including the Consolidated Maritime Labour Convention and Fishing Labour Convention.

  • Australian Government support for:

    • Australian representation at international and regional forums and capacity building in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions to monitor ships for compliance with international standards, to respond to ship sourced marine pollution, to provide aids to navigation and search and rescue services;

    • Australia having a robust port State control program to identify and detain foreign flag ships not meeting relevant safety and marine environment protection standards;

    • a review of Australian coastal shipping and the development of a national transport plan and policy framework, including the national transport action plan's single national approach to maritime legislation covering commercial vessel survey, certification, crew competencies and some operational practices;

    • emergency response arrangements being maintained for a shipping casualty near or in Australian waters, including pollution preparedness and response, emergency towage, incident management and powers of intervention;

    • strong working relations between agencies providing search and rescue services;

    • a high level of protection for the environmental and cultural values of the Torres Strait and Great Barrier Reef from the impact of shipping operations and strengthening the maritime safety culture in the Torres Strait region;

    • strengthening of Australia's maritime domain awareness regime to benefit maritime security, safety and environment protection; and

    • promotion of fishing vessel safety both in Australian waters and internationally.

  • Stakeholder and community expectation that:

    • the national shipping regulatory system will be based on contemporary safety management systems, facilitate business and support international competitiveness;

    • ship safety and environment protection standards will be effectively enforced and law breakers prosecuted, convicted and punished within the Australian jurisdiction;

    • compensation will be available for damage from ship sourced marine pollution in line with international compensation and liability schemes;

    • a national network of aids to navigation will be provided to assist safe navigation of commercial shipping and historic lighthouses' heritage values maintained; and

    • search and rescue services will be coordinated to the extent of Australia's search and rescue region, including Antarctica and other remote locations.

  • Industry trends impacting on AMSA, including:

    • changes in the maritime workforce demographic and global increases in labour demands leading to a potential maritime/aviation skills shortage in Australia;

    • traditional recruitment methods and training and qualification requirements needing to be reviewed for seafarers, marine pilots and aviation crews;

    • an increasing focus on safety issues involved with cargo stowage and handling and improved occupational health and safety outcomes for ship crews;

    • changes in Australia's marine pollution risk profile with new and expanded port developments and increased importation of oil and chemical cargoes; and

    • technological developments to improve ship navigational safety, emergency and pollution response techniques and search and rescue services.

AMSA objectives

In seeking to meet its statutory and other obligations and address stakeholder and interest group needs, AMSA is focusing in 2008-09 on the achievement of the following objectives in the five key operational areas, which correspond to AMSA's five outputs:

1. Regulatory measures for ship safety and environment protection (output 1.1)

  • Influence the development, implementation, monitoring and enforcement of international ship safety and environment protection standards and the operation of international ship sourced pollution liability and compensation schemes.

  • Modernise Australia's national ship safety and environment protection regulatory system consistent with international standards and contemporary safety and environment management systems and promote national consistency across ship safety and environment protection regulatory systems providing flexibility for business and fostering competitive shipping services.

  • Provide an effective enforcement regime, including an appropriate level of penalties, for Australian ship safety and pollution laws within the Commonwealth jurisdiction.

  • Maintain a comprehensive liability and compensation regime in Australia for loss or damage caused by shipping incidents consistent with international schemes.

  • Promote a maritime safety culture where parties accept responsibility for ship safety and pollution prevention and their duty of care in achieving safety outcomes.

2. Monitoring compliance with safety and environment standards (output 1.2)

  • Identify and deter unseaworthy and substandard ships operating in Australian waters and encourage improvement of overseas administrations' ship monitoring regimes to deter unseaworthy and substandard ships operating in the region.

  • Reduce work related injury and illness of crew on ships covered by the Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) Act 1993.

  • Provide Australia with a system of seagoing training and certification consistent with international standards and highly regarded worldwide for its integrity and quality and promote skills development by seafarers and their career path progression from small vessels to commercial ships.

  • Provide a regulatory system for the delivery of vessel traffic service to minimise the risk of a maritime accident, subsequent ship sourced pollution and damage to the marine environment in the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait and for the safe delivery of coastal pilotage services in the Torres Strait and Great Barrier Reef region.

3. Responding to marine pollution risks (output 1.3)

  • Maintain ship sourced pollution response services and emergency towage services consistent with relevant international obligations, regional arrangements and inter-governmental agreements.
  • Provide effective emergency response, including coordinated search and rescue, incident coordination and pollution and emergency towage response, to shipping incidents involving a significant pollution threat in Australian waters and around the coast.

4. Systems for aiding safe marine navigation (output 1.4)

  • Maintain a national network of integrated marine aids to navigation systems, vessel tracking systems, a vessel traffic management system in the Torres Strait and Great Barrier Reef, and provide Maritime Safety Information to ships, consistent with international standards.
  • Maximise the benefit of communications and technological advances to improve navigational and ship safety.
  • Contribute to whole of government initiatives to improve maritime domain awareness for the benefit of maritime safety and environment protection.

5. Maritime and aviation search and rescue (output 2.1)

  • Coordinate maritime and aviation search and rescue and maintain maritime safety and distress communication services consistent with Australia's international obligations and the relevant inter-governmental agreement.
  • Maximise the benefit of communications and technological advances to improve the effectiveness of search and rescue operations and communications.
  • Contribute to whole of government initiatives to fully utilise search and rescue assets.

1.2: Agency resource statement

Table 1.1 shows the total resources from all origins. The table summarises how resources will be applied by outcome and by administered and departmental classification.

Table 1.1: AMSA resource statement - Budget estimates for 2008-09 as at Budget May 2008

1.3: Budget measures

AMSA does not have any new measures in the 2008-09 Budget.

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Budget 2008-09