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 support an efficient, safe and environmentally friendly Australian maritime sector and provide world leading maritime and aviation search and rescue services to the community.

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 July 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 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 to AMSA will coincide with the commencement of the national system.

The Protection of the Sea Levy will be maintained at its current rate of 14.25 cents per net registered tonne to establish a $10 million pollution response reserve to enable AMSA to fund a response to pollution incidents while claims are being settled and as a contingency in the event that future pollution claims exceed the limited liability of any ship owner.

The continuation of the levy will also assist AMSA to recoup the anticipated increased costs associated with the implementation of a number of pollution response and prevention initiatives, including improving and maintaining pollution response stockpiles, supporting the National Plan for Maritime Environmental Emergencies, the National Maritime Emergency Response Arrangements and supporting vessel traffic service arrangements in the Torres Strait and the inner route of the Great Barrier Reef.

The ‘Targeted savings—public service efficiencies’ measure is in addition to the impact previously reported for this measure in the 2012–13 Infrastructure and Transport Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements.

Key Priorities

AMSA's key priorities over the next five years include:

  • developing and implementing further arrangements for AMSA's expanded role as the national regulator for domestic commercial vessels in Australian waters from 2013;
  • contributing to maritime safety by implementing reforms contained in the Navigation Act 2012 to take effect from July 2013 as well as giving effect to the Maritime Labour Convention to come into force in August 2013;
  • 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 2013–14 as at Budget May 2013

1.3: Budget measures

Budget measures in Part 1 relating to AMSA are detailed in Budget Paper No. 2 and are summarised below.

Table 1.2: Agency 2013–14 Budget measures

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Budget 2013-14