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Thursday, 25 September 2008
Page: 5


Mr ALBANESE (Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government) (9:29 AM) —I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

Background

Australia’s economy relies heavily on the safe and secure movement of billions of dollars in imports and exports. This bill amends the Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Act 2003 and the Aviation Transport Security Act 2004. As the international shipping industry continues to grow, so does its importance to the Australian economy. Similarly, the offshore oil and gas industry also contributes strongly to Australia’s prosperity.

In our skies, the aviation industry plays a key role in connecting Australia with the world and Australians with each other. Whether moving tourists, families, freight or business people, the aviation industry is essential to the efficient operation of the Australian economy.

More than ever, these industries underpin Australia’s economic growth and serve as the nation’s gateways to the global economy. Given this significance, security is an important consideration.

The Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Act 2003 implements a preventive security regime to enhance security at ports, port facilities, ships and offshore facilities.

It gives effect to Australia’s international obligations under the International Maritime Organisation’s International Ship and Port Facility Security Code and under chapter 11-2 of the Safety of Life at Sea Convention 1974. The act establishes a scheme which safeguards against unlawful interference with maritime transport and offshore facilities.

Likewise, security systems are an essential component of the aviation sector. The primary function of the Aviation Transport Security Act 2004 is to ensure Australia’s aviation industry is safeguarded and able to respond quickly against threats of unlawful interference with aviation.

The regulatory frameworks for both the maritime and aviation security acts are centred on the development of preventive security plans for industry participants.

These plans set out security measures and procedures to safeguard against unlawful interference against the transport sector. The plans ensure industry participants have a planned and risk based approach to the management of transport security.

Objective of the bill

The bill amends the maritime security act to implement proposals arising from a review of the maritime security regime. The bill also amends both the maritime and aviation acts to ensure flexibility for industry participants in the way they document their security arrangements as required by each act.

The bill enhances current measures in both acts to deliver effective security outcomes now and into the future.

The measures of this bill are an example of the continued and successful cooperation between the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government and Australia’s maritime, offshore and aviation industry stakeholders. It is a relationship based on consultation and cooperation.

Measures in the bill

Schedule 1 amends both the maritime and aviation security acts to confirm that industry participants may hold multiple security plans, or programs, for different locations and operations.

Schedule 1 of the bill also amends the maritime security act to:

  • clarify its application to foreign regulated ships visiting an external Australian territory;
  • allow for maritime and offshore security plans to have a life span of five years or less (but no less than 12 months);
  • provide for regulations to develop nationally consistent mapping standards; and
  • correct anomalies.

The maritime industry is a significant contributor to the Australian economy. Ensuring that a robust security regime is in place and maintained is important to the protection of the sector.

At present a foreign regulated ship visiting an external Australian territory such as Norfolk Island may not be required to comply with requirements such as the provision of prearrival reporting information. The bill will clarify this matter and require compliance with the relevant provisions.

The amendment providing for maritime security plans and offshore security plans to have a life span of five years or less (but no less than 12 months) will significantly benefit maritime industry participants. It will also provide my department with greater flexibility to effectively respond to changes in Australia’s security environment and the operational requirements of industry.

Clear and accurate mapping of security regulated port boundaries and maritime security zones is a key element in an effective maritime security regime. At present there is much variation between approaches to the format, quality and accuracy of maps that must be submitted when considering a security plan for approval.

The bill will provide greater certainty for industry when preparing such maps by providing for regulations to be made to establish nationally consistent mapping standards.

The bill contains several minor, miscellaneous amendments to rectify drafting errors and anomalies in the maritime security act. These amendments provide greater clarity and certainty for industry participants who play an integral role in implementing and maintaining the maritime security regime.

The regulatory security frameworks for both the aviation and maritime sectors centre on the development of preventive security plans or programs. The plans and programs set out security measures and procedures to be implemented to safeguard against acts of unlawful interference with aviation and maritime transport.

It is common for industry participants to conduct multiple operations or operate at different geographical locations. Presently, it is not clear whether the maritime or aviation security acts allow for industry participants to hold more than one security plan or program.

To remove all doubt, the bill will clarify in the relevant maritime and aviation legislation that industry participants may hold different security plans or programs for each location or operation, with the approval of the secretary of my department.

Conclusion

The Transport Security Amendment (2008 Measures No. 1) Bill 2008 will add greater certainty and clarity to the operation of the maritime and aviation security regimes, for the benefit of our maritime, offshore and aviation industries.

I am confident the measures introduced in this bill will enable industry participants to more confidently interpret, implement and administer the legislation as it relates to their daily business practices. This will, in turn, strengthen Australia’s transport security regime. I commend the bill to the House

Debate (on motion by Mr Wood) adjourned.