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Australian Maritime Safety Authority

Section 1: Agency overview and resources

1.1: Strategic direction statement

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 respected world leading regulator and provider of maritime safety, marine environment protection, and provider of maritime and aviation search and rescue and environment response.

AMSA's Outcome Statement is to minimise the risk of shipping incidents and pollution in Australian waters through ship safety and environment protection regulation and services and maximise people saved from maritime and aviation incidents through search and rescue coordination.

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.

There are two budget measures affecting AMSA in the 2010-11 Budget. For the first measure, AMSA has entered into an agreement with the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government (Infrastructure) under 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. The second measure relates to AMSA's role in the establishment and implementation of the National Transport Regulators initiative.

There are no changes in AMSA's functions.

External environment

AMSA's operating environment is influenced by a number of external factors, the more important of these in 2010-11 are:

  • supporting the Government's agenda for maritime reform;
  • ensuring ongoing capacity of our search and rescue program;
  • progressing pilotage issues associated with the Torres Strait and Great Barrier Reef, and implementation of under keel clearance management arrangements in the Torres Strait; and
  • enhancing the Torres Strait Marine Safety Program.

The operating environment over the next three years, as outlined in the AMSA Corporate Plan 2010-2013, is expected to be shaped by the following factors:

  • continued support for world leading services pertaining to maritime safety, marine environment protection and maritime and aviation search and rescue.
  • AMSA's participation in the International Maritime Organization (IMO);
  • initiatives and trends affecting the maritime industry that may have an impact on the way we deliver our services, including:
    • potential skills shortages in Australia;
    • growth in the sector and the potential impact these may have on ship operations;
    • expanding port development; and
    • technology developments affecting ship navigational safety, emergency and pollution response techniques and search and rescue services;
  • stakeholder and community expectations that:
    • we will support stakeholders in the maritime industry;
    • ship safety and environment protection standards will be effectively enforced;
    • compensation will be available for damage from marine pollution;
    • a national network of aids to navigation will be provided to assist safe navigation of commercial shipping;
    • we will provide strong leadership on maritime matters through forums, working groups and provision of resources;
    • search and rescue services will be coordinated throughout Australia's search and rescue region;
    • we will promote the carriage of distress alerting devices appropriate to the risks and circumstances in which people place themselves, with particular focus on registered 406 MHz distress beacons; and
    • we will regulate environmentally sensitive shipping areas.
  • the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) work on developing new and upgraded standards for marine aids to navigation;
  • the International Labour Organization (ILO) promoting adoption of instruments governing maritime industry labour standards, including the Consolidated Maritime Labour Convention; and
  • the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) revision of the maritime radio and satellite communications spectrum frequencies, including the outcomes of the World Radio Conference 2012.

1.2: Agency resource statement

Table 1.1 shows the total resources from all sources.

Table 1.1:  Agency resource statement - Budget estimates for 2010-11 as at Budget May 2010

1.3: Budget measures

Budget measures relating to AMSA are detailed in Budget Paper No. 2 and are summarised below.

Table 1.2: Agency 2010-11 Budget measures

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Budget 2010-11