<B>COMMERCIAL NEWS</B> - National governance of commercial vessels legislated

COMMERCIAL NEWS - New bill breaks down States' maritime borders

State maritime borders for commercial vessels have been abolished by the Australian Government and replaced by a single national law and regulator under new legislation passed by Federal Parliament.

The Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2012 provides for the national regulation of the domestic commercial vessel industry in Australia by: establishing the National Marine Safety Regulator; and establishing a National Law for domestic commercial vessel safety.

NSW Minister for Roads and Ports, Duncan Gay said the new laws bring NSW (and all States and Territories) under a national system governing the operation of commercial vessels in Australian waters.

“These changes break down the maritime borders meaning a commercial vessel that complies with national standards and is certified to operate in QLD can work in NSW without additional inspection and certification,” said Gay.

“Or that a vessel built in NSW can be sold and operated in any other State or Territory without the need for further inspection and possible expensive modifications.

“These reforms were agreed to at the Council of Australian Governments in July 2009 and implementation of the national system is also a key initiative in the (NSW) Government’s Maritime Policy Agenda, which I announced in August 2012

“It ensures uniformity in standards, legislation and administration and it means greater efficiency by reducing the regulatory burden for the maritime industry,” he said.

Gay said that current registration certificates, survey certificates and crew certificates will continue to be recognised until either these certificates expire or until 2016. As existing NSW certificates expire they will be replaced with national certificates, he added.

“These changes will not affect the management of ports and harbours or the regulation of waterways, and it will not affect recreational vessels,” said Gay, who added that NSW had significant involvement in the development of the National Law, with industry widely consulted.

“The Boating Industry Association of NSW has lent its support, as the changes would dramatically simplify the regulatory environment for all parties engaged in maritime commercial enterprises,” said Gay. “It is a common sense reform and I’m pleased NSW will now formally come under the new maritime safety system when it commences in March 2013.”