NEWS — BIAA on business, regulations and marine parks

BIAA on Business, Regulations and Marine Parks

The Boating Industries Alliance Australia (BIAA), the national peak body for the recreational boating industry, has outlined the challenges and opportunities facing the sector in the next 12 months, in particular a rise in business sentiment, a new set of regulations and standards to combat grey imports, and the shape and format of a marine park network for the continent.

The year-old BIAA board met in Sydney last Sunday (May 20) for its first AGM and elected BIA(NSW) president Darren Vaux as chairman for a second term. The BIAA represents all state BIAs (Boating Industry Associations) on national issues.

Vaux was optimistic of a rise in the recreational boating marketplace for the coming year following a difficult trading period during the past two years.

“We expect to see a pick-up in business over the coming year, being a combination of an increase in consumer confidence as mortgage rates reduce and employment holds firm and the AUD deflates providing some respite for local manufacturers and importers battling what has been a growing trend of self-importing boats and other products,” said Vaux.

Following a BIAA-led campaign to raise awareness of the impact and potential problems associated with grey imports, targeting boaters, consumers and government agencies alike, Vaux said initiatives to bring Australian regulation and standards in line with global markets are starting to bear fruit.

“BIAA is looking at options for a new industry-driven, boat design and construction standard, which will recognise the world-class quality product manufactured in Australia, while providing boaters with an assurance that imported boats are inspected and approved to the same high standard as locally built boats,” explained Vaux.

Acknowledging government concerns about protectionist policies, Vaux clarified the initiative would support local industry and boaters alike.

“Over the next year the BIAA will be working with industry members, standards-setters and international boating industry partners to develop a program of standards that establishes a quality and specification baseline for boats brought to the market,” said Vaux, emphasising that the spirit of open competition would also be maintained for boaters to source products from across the world.

The BIAA plans to partner with other stakeholders to influence the definition of zones and permitted activities during final consultations on the shape and format of the marine park network expected within the next two to three months.

“In the next six months, we expect to see the declaration by the Federal Minister for the Environment, Tony Burke, of an encircling network of marine parks right around the continent,” said Vaux.

“In general, the boating industry supports the concept of marine parks to protect and sustain the natural environment, which is so intrinsic to boating, but in recent meetings with the Minister we have continued to advocate the paramount importance to social and economic interests of access to our waterways.”

“The BIAA will be partnering with other stakeholders to influence the definition of zones and permitted activities under the declaration and in particular to limit or mitigate the potential for negative impact on the boating industry, especially in Queensland where we expect the Minister to face some very difficult decisions related to the Coral Sea green zones,” he said.

Photo: Darren Vaux re-elected BIAA chairman for a second term.