WAFIC finalises fishing industry submission on AMSA legislation review

The Federal Government announced in November 2021 that there was to be an independent review of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) legal framework regulating the safety of domestic commercial vessels in Australia.

Phase One was to consider whether the national law is fit for purpose and has minimised regulatory and administrative burden for industry and provided transparency.

Phase Two (which will occur later in 2022) will review the future costs and charges recovery arrangements associated with delivery of the marine safety system.

The Terms of Reference and additional information can be viewed here.

WAFIC has coordinated online meetings and written submissions for the fishing, aquaculture and pearling industry to meet the 31 March 2022 deadline for comment on Phase One.

Highlights in the WAFIC submission included:

  • A single national scheme works more effectively than that previously delivered by the seven individual state/territory jurisdictions;
  • It’s still not clear to industry that there has been a real reduction in red tape and cost while maintaining safety;
  • The legislation and regulations are complex and ambiguous as a result of meshing the previous seven state and territory marine management systems into one;
  • Now is the right time to streamline the legislation, associated marine orders and standards against the learnings of the past five years, since inception of the national Law;
  • There is a need for greater use of practical guidance materials written in plain English for use by industry to streamline understanding of what is required to operate;
  • A ‘one size fits all’ approach is inappropriate given the diverse range of commercial vessels operating within Australia;
  • Grandfathering sustains a cost-effective way to recognise that existing vessels can continue to operate safely.

A draft Phase One report from the review panel is expected to be released for further consultation in May 2022.

Commencement of Phase Two’s cost recovery arrangements for AMSA service delivery will commence mid-2022, with final reports expected at the end of 2022.