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 safe shipping, clean seas and saving lives.

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 1 July 2014, the Protection of the Sea levy (PSL) will be returned to 11.25 cents per net registered tonne. The PSL was raised to meet the costs of the Pacific Adventurer oil spill off the south east Queensland coast in 2009. The rate was increased by three cents to 14.25 cents per net registered tonne in April 2010.

The Australian Government has decided to return the levy to its former rate on the basis that the Pacific Adventurer clean-up costs have been settled and a $10 million pollution response reserve has been established to meet the immediate costs borne by pollution responders in the event of future maritime incidents, while claims are settled and when claims exceed the limited liability of shipowners.

Key Priorities

AMSA's key priorities over the next five years are to:

  • Implement and, consistent with the Australian Government's deregulation policies, simplify and streamline arrangements for AMSA's expanded role as the national regulator for domestic commercial vessels;
  • contribute to maritime safety by continuing to implement reforms contained in the Navigation Act 2012 which took effect from July 2013, as well as giving effect to the Maritime Labour Convention which came into force in August 2013;
  • respond to growth in the maritime sector, driven largely by resource and offshore energy development in the north-west and north-east of Australia, by developing measures intended to mitigate any increased risk to safety or the environment from marine pollution;
  • further strengthen measures to protect the marine environment, particularly pristine ecological areas such as the Great Barrier Reef, Torres Strait, the Coral Sea and Ningaloo Reef;
  • respond to the increasing demand for search and rescue services as outdoor lifestyle activities continue to grow amongst the Australian community;
  • influence technological developments relevant to ship navigational safety, emergency and pollution response techniques and search and rescue activities; and
  • deliver core functions to a high standard in relation to the regulation of shipping, aids to navigation, pollution prevention and response capability and search and rescue services.

1.2: Agency resource statement

Table 1.1 shows the total resources from all sources.

Table 1.1: Agency resource statement—Budget estimates for 2014–15 as at Budget May 2014

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 2014–15 Budget measures

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Budget 2014-15