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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, pollution response and maritime and aviation search and rescue.

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 2011-12 Budget. The first measure relates to the increase in the efficiency dividend and 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

Over the next five years, as outlined in the AMSA Corporate Plan 2011-16, AMSA's operating environment will be shaped by a number of factors, including:

  • growth in the maritime sector, particularly resource and offshore energy development, and the potential impact this may have on ship operations;
  • the reform agenda including the review of the Navigation Act 1912, the transition to a single national maritime safety regulatory system and coastal shipping reform;
  • potential maritime skill shortages in Australia;
  • expanding port developments; and
  • technology developments affecting ship navigational safety, emergency and pollution response techniques and search and rescue activities.

AMSA supports and collaborates with its stakeholders as a responsible global and regional partner, in order to deliver world leading maritime safety, marine environment protection and response and maritime and aviation search and rescue services. In providing such support AMSA will address:

  • our engagement with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in developing new and upgraded international standards for ship safety and environment protection;
  • the work of the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) in developing new and upgraded standards for marine navigation;
  • the International Labour Organization's adoption of instruments governing maritime industry labour standards, including the 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.

AMSA will also meet stakeholder and community expectations that:

  • seafarer and ship safety standards will be set at appropriate levels and effectively enforced;
  • there will be an effective pollution response system and compensation available for damage from marine pollution;
  • a cost effective national network of aids to navigation will be maintained to assist safe navigation of commercial shipping;
  • we will engage and work collaboratively with stakeholders in the maritime industry;
  • the career structure for seafarers will be updated to simplify access to international standard qualifications by seafarers holding near-coastal qualifications issued by the States and the Northern Territory;
  • we will continue to provide strong leadership on maritime issues through forums, working groups and provision of resources;
  • search and rescue services will be coordinated throughout Australia's search and rescue region;
  • we will continue to promote the carriage of distress alert devices appropriate to diverse risks and circumstances, with a particular focus on the 406 MHz distress beacons;
  • we will regulate as appropriate within our scope of operation to protect environmentally sensitive shipping areas; and
  • we will continue to provide a capability to respond effectively to maritime casualties, including pollution and threat of pollution incidents, in conjunction with our State/Territory and industry partners.

1.2: Agency resource statement

Table 1.1 shows the total resources from all sources.

Table 1.1: Agency resource statement - Budget estimates for 2011-12 as at Budget May 2011

1.3: Budget measures

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

Table 1.2: Agency 2011-12 Budget measures


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Budget 2010-11