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Tuesday, 19 October 2010
Page: 807


Mr ALBANESE (Minister for Infrastructure and Transport) (5:34 PM) —in reply—I thank the member for Lyons for his contribution. As you know, Mr Deputy Speaker, those of you who represent the ‘southern island’ understand the importance of shipping, as we do as a nation. The Protection of the Sea Legislation Amendment Bill 2010 will make an important contribution to protecting the environment from the activities associated with shipping, particularly reducing air pollution by ships.

Australia is almost entirely dependent on ships for its exports and imports, with less than one per cent carried by aircraft. In addition, taking into account total tonnage and the distance travelled, 25 per cent of Australian domestic cargo is carried by ships. This government believes that the effect on the environment from all forms of transport should be reduced where practicable. In the case of shipping, this is best achieved by ensuring that Australian ships and foreign ships which visit Australian ports comply with internationally agreed standards.

This bill implements standards developed by the International Maritime Organisation to reduce the amount of sulphur oxide in ships’ exhaust gases. Sulphur oxides in the atmosphere contribute to the development of acid rain. The reduction in sulphur oxides will contribute to a reduction in air pollution with a consequential positive impact on human health and the environment. The bill will also ensure that any persons who assist with the clean-up of a spill of fuel oil will not themselves inadvertently become liable for pollution damage, so long as such persons have acted in good faith.

The passage of this bill will complement the high safety standards applied to ships trading on the Australian coast and entering Australian ports. I commend the bill to the House.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Ordered that this bill be reported to the House without amendment.