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Wednesday, 26 November 1986
Page: 3747

Mr PETER MORRIS (Minister for Transport)(12.19) —I will deal in a moment with the points raised by the honourable member for Wide Bay (Mr Millar) which related to the criteria under which inspections will be carried out. But the problem, as he noted from the second reading speech, is that the definition of `unseaworthy' under the Navigation Act does not embrace the range of conditions that we want to bring within this package of legislation. In the legislation and the criteria to be established we are effectively broadening that definition of `unseaworthy' to pick up the provisions of the International Labour Organisation convention No. 147.

I can say to the honourable member, as he will note from the second reading speech, that once the Navigation Amendment Bill 1986 has had passage the various criteria warranting detention of a ship as substandard will be finalised in tripartite consultation with industry, and they will be based on the safety and health standards established by the International Labour Organisation and included in convention No. 147. Those criteria will be published as a marine order under the Navigation Act and will govern the Minister's discretion to detain a ship. As is customary, the marine order will be tabled in the manner of a statutory rule for the scrutiny of the Parliament. So there will be ample opportunity for people to criticise, add to or detract from the provisions of the marine order and the discussions that will take place prior to the establishment of the criteria.

I will run through very quickly for the House the types of deficiencies which are covered by ILO 147. I am quite sure this will meet the concerns of the honourable member for Wide Bay. Deficiencies to which regard will be paid in considering whether a ship is substandard will be listed in marine orders and cover the areas which I will mention and which closely follow the ILO 147 standards. They are items such as these: Access is unsatisfactory, ventilation is inadequate, cargo is in the accommodation, accommodation is not drained or is in filthy condition, wiring is defective or dangerous, garbage disposal is unsatisfactory, dirty galley, provisions are unsatisfactory, water is not fit for consumption, insect or vermin infestation, inadequate lighting or heating, steam pipes not properly lagged, badly deteriorated paintwork, unsafe work spaces, inadequate or ineffective sanitary facilities, inadequate hospital or medical equipment, unsafe or obstructed walkways. They are the types of deficiencies which the new criteria will cover in addition to those provisions already covered under the `unseaworthy' definition of the Navigation Act as it exists. The ILO 147 matters relate more to the safety of the crew and the conditions on board the vessel. I think any reasonable person would accept that those matters that I have mentioned are reasonable and ought to be given consideration.

We are trying to put together a viable regime in which the proper interests of the crew, the safety of the vessel and the safety of the people who work on that vessel are taken into account and to put an end to the kinds of operations that have been occurring over many years. From the contributions made by honourable members on the other side of the House and those of my colleagues, particularly the honourable member for Throsby (Mr Hollis), and their interest in this issue, I have every confidence that this package will provide the basis on which our ship repair industry can become much more efficient and much more competitive, provide new jobs in this area and redevelop itself.

The market is changing. Ships no longer have to be hauled out of the water for descaling as frequently as previously. With the longer life paints that are now used a vessel can stay in the water for up to five years at a time. There is a modular type of construction within the vessels, and a move to computerise engines. All the technology on board is changing, but we have to change with it. The market is there at our doorstep. There are some 6,000 ship visits to this country per year. They are blue-water ships, and we ought to make every endeavour that we can to get a share of their servicing requirements. With the co-operation of the members of this Parliament, as has been evidenced this morning, and the co-operation of the people in the industry, I am quite sure that we can reactivate the industry and get a substantial share of that market. I commend the Bill to the House.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.