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Thursday, 23 June 2011
Page: 7178


Mr ALBANESE (GrayndlerLeader of the House and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport) (17:30): I thank those members who contributed to this debate in the Main Committee. This received support from all the members who spoke to it. It has, of course, taken a Labor government to introduce this important legislation.

One of the greatest threats to the marine environment is a major oil spill. This bill continues the government's persistent efforts to protect the marine environment by setting out measures to be adopted when oil being carried as cargo is transferred between oil tankers. While such transfers are rare in Australian waters, they are likely to be more frequent in future. So it is important that they be carried out in a responsible manner.

The most common reason for transferring oil between oil tankers in Australian waters would be where crude oil is being carried on a tanker that is too big to enter a port where an oil refinery is located. In such a case the oil is transferred to smaller tankers. The amendments in this bill reflect international best practice as developed by the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Limited—an international not-for-profit organisation which assists in all aspects of preparing for and responding to spills from ships of oil, chemicals and other substances.

An oil tanker involved in a transfer will be required to have on board an approved ship-to-ship operations plan in accordance with which the tanker will have the equipment and qualified crew to ensure that a transfer occurs without a significant risk to the marine environment. Coastal states will be required to be notified in advance of any proposed transfers which allow them to be prepared to respond in case of any spills occurring during a transfer. I commend the bill to the House.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.