National Maritime Safety Regulator

Policy statement by the Deputy Prime Minister on arrangements from 1 July 2018 for the National System for Domestic Commercial Vessel Safety

The Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law Act 2012 (the National Law) and the Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law (Consequential Amendments) Act 2012 passed through both Houses of the Commonwealth Parliament and received Royal assent on 12 August 2012.

The National Law implements the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) on Commercial Vessel Safety Reform signed by Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Ministers on 19 August 2011 to develop a national approach to the safety regulation of domestic commercial vessels and to establish the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) as the single national regulator for domestic commercial vessel safety in Australia.

The IGA formalises the agreement of all Australian governments to the operating arrangements under which the single national system will operate. Agreement on the provisions of the IGA and the National Law Bills are the result of extensive negotiations between the Commonwealth, States and Territories.

The reform was first initiated in July 2009 when COAG decided to take a national approach to regulating the safety of all domestic commercial vessels in Australian waters by 2013. COAG's decision reflects recommendations put forward to it by the Australian Transport Council (ATC) in May 2009.

ATC's recommendations were informed by a Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) that discussed perceived problems with the current regulatory framework and considered alternate options for national reform of maritime safety regulation. The RIS incorporated feedback provided in over 90 written submissions and 22 public meetings held around Australia.


The National Law will replace current state and territory laws governing the operational safety of domestic commercial vessels. A national approach supported by one n ational law will ensure that standards, rules and subordinate legislation such as regulations and Marine Orders are applied consistently around the country.

The National Law is also designed to apply the National Standard for Commercial Vessels (NSCV) throughout Australia. The NSCV is a set of standards covering commercial vessel operation, construction and crew qualifications developed by State and Territory transport agencies and agreed by Transport Ministers. The NSCV will be implemented through subordinate legislation made under the National Law.

As the National Regulator, AMSA will be responsible for the development and implementation of national domestic commercial vessel standards covering vessel construction, operation and crew qualifications. However, under the National Law, AMSA will delegate certain functions to State and Territory maritime safety agencies which undertake day-to-day interaction with the domestic commercial vessel industry.



Last Updated: 2 July, 2018