| February 28, 2018

Protection of the Sea Legislation Amendment Bill 2018

 I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

Australia is heavily reliant on international shipping. Ninety-nine per cent of our imports and exports by weight are carried by ships. Therefore, as a government, it is our duty to ensure that our laws for the prevention of marine pollution are adequate, up to date and consistent with international law.

The bill I present today, the Protection of the Sea Legislation Amendment Bill 2018, will ensure that the framework for preventing marine pollution is in line with international requirements. It will also allow for consistency between key pieces of legislation that implement our obligations domestically, and provide for the continued application of the protection of the sea levy legislation without unnecessary regulation.

The bill primarily amends the Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 1983, known as the POTS Act. The POTS Act, together with the Navigation Act 2012implement domestically our international obligations stemming from the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships(known as MARPOL) adopted at the International Maritime Organization, or IMO.

The amendments to the POTS Act set out in this bill will implement Australia's international obligations to ensure that the master of a ship has vital information relating to relevant cargoes on board before discharging the residues of these cargoes. This will allow the master to discharge these residues appropriately, and only into the sea where it has been determined, and declared, that the cargo residues are not harmful to the marine environment.

Australia's implementation of these amendments to MARPOL is consistent with our long­standing support for protection of the marine environment, and our active backing of, and participation in, the IMO.

The bill also makes a machinery change to the Protection of the Sea (Shipping Levy Collection) Act 1981. The amendment will remove the need for regulations to prescribe the manner in which a protection of the sea levy notice may be served in particular circumstances. This minor change will allow the Protection of the Sea (Shipping Levy Collection) Regulations to be repealed, removing a dated and now unnecessary piece of regulation.

Together, these amendments will ensure consistent and efficient legislation and that Australia continues to meet its international obligations.

I commend this bill to the House

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