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Domestic commercial vessel safety regulation gets the attention it deserves

Today’s long-awaited announcement by The Hon. Barnaby Joyce, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development on the Independent Review of the National Law was welcomed by Maritime Industry Australia Ltd (MIAL).  

Eight years after implementation of the National Transport Regulatory Reform, which saw all state and Northern Territory NT maritime regulatory regimes brought under the one national umbrella, the Government has released broad Terms of Reference of the Review of the complex framework governing domestic commercial vessel safety. It is critical that this review properly addresses the many transitional issues that continue to impact on maritime businesses.  

Teresa Lloyd, MIAL’s Chief Executive Officer, said “Implementation of the National Law has been an incredibly challenging task, but we must now concentrate on moving from the necessary transitional complexity to a streamlined framework which, at its core, embodies a flexible, risk-based approach to safety management.  

“This is critical to allowing maritime businesses to be innovative, tailor their safe practices to be specific to their operations, while having the confidence to grow their businesses and invest in new technology.” 

The second stage of the review will examine the current and future service delivery costs and charges, the efficiency of the regulator, and the impact on industry of potential increased regulatory service costs, considering the very wide spectrum of domestic commercial vessel operations.  

“MIAL is very keen to see cross subsidisation of industry sectors eliminated as soon as possible, and we will be looking to Government to extend the current budget appropriation for National System service delivery for at least a further 12 months while the cost and charges aspects of the Review are considered,” Ms Lloyd said.  

On the timeframe outlined for the review, Ms Lloyd said, “We’re very keen on having this review completed as soon as possible following a meaningful consultation process that secures well-supported review recommendations.”

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