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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 recognised as a world leader in the provision of maritime safety, marine environment protection and 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.

Funding 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.  AMSA's search and rescue coordination services are met by the Australian Government through Community Service Obligation funding. Australia is obliged under relevant international conventions to provide search and rescue services for persons in aviation or maritime distress in Australia's internationally designated search and rescue region.

From January 2013, AMSA will become the National Regulator for the domestic commercial vessel fleet and seafarers operating in all States and Territories in Australia. The funding for AMSA's role as the National Regulator for the National System will be received from agreed State and Territory contributions upon commencement of the new system.

The transfer of the commercial vessel standards setting function from the National Marine Safety Committee (NMSC) to AMSA will coincide with the commencement of the National System. Prior to this, the cost of servicing this function will be recovered on a fee-for-service basis from the NMSC as AMSA currently provides secretariat services to the NMSC.

One budget measure affects AMSA in the 2012–13 Budget in relation to the role as the National Regulator. The measure provides for the establishment of a national marine database management system to support AMSA and its delegates and to monitor regulatory activities.  The increase to the efficiency dividend was reported in AMSA's Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements 2011–12 and is also reflected in these statements.

Key Priorities

AMSA's Corporate Plan 2012–17 identifies a number of key priorities the agency will be addressing over the next five years.  These include:

  • developing and implementing arrangements for AMSA to expand its role from 2013 by becoming the national regulator for domestic commercial vessels in Australian waters;
  • contributing to maritime safety and shipping  reforms such as the re-write of the Navigation Act 1912 and establishment of an international register for shipping, as well as international developments including the Maritime Labour Convention and amendments to the International Convention for the Standards, Training and Certification of Watchkeepers.
  • responding to growth in the maritime sector, driven largely by resource and offshore energy development in the northwest and northeast of Australia, by developing measures intended to mitigate any increased risks to safety or the environment from marine pollution;
  • further strengthening measures to protect the marine environment, particularly pristine ecological areas such as the Great Barrier Reef, Torres Strait, the Coral Sea and Ningaloo Reef;
  • responding to the increasing demand for search and rescue services as outdoor lifestyle activities continue to grow amongst the Australian community; and
  • influencing technological developments relevant to ship navigational safety, emergency and pollution response techniques and search and rescue activities.

1.2: Agency resource statement

Table 1.1 shows the total resources from all sources.

Table 1.1:  Agency resource statement—Budget estimates for 2012–13 as at Budget May 2012

1.3: Budget measures

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

Table 1.2: Agency 2012–13 Budget measures

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Budget 2012-13