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Wednesday, 15 August 2012
Page: 8815


Mr ALBANESE (GrayndlerLeader of the House and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport) (10:25): I thank members for their constructive comments on this legislation, including the contribution just made by the member for Flinders. This is important legislation. Pollution from ships is indeed a significant threat to our pristine marine environment. Shipping is a crucial part of the Australian transport system. Each year almost 4,000 ships transport goods to and from Australia, carrying 99 per cent by volume of Australia's imports and exports. This constitutes the world's fourth-largest shipping task. The increase in demand for Australia's exports and new resource developments means that Australia's sea freight task is likely to double by 2025. Ensuring that shipping can meet these demands safely and efficiently is crucial to Australia's economic prosperity.

This bill continues the government's efforts to protect the marine environment by enacting revised measures adopted at the Marine Environment Protection Committee of the International Maritime Organisation on 15 July 2011. Just last week I had the pleasure of having dinner with the new Secretary-General of the IMO in welcoming him to Australia. It was indeed an important recognition in the visit of the Secretary-General of the role that Australia plays in international maritime.

The amendments in this bill reflect international best practice. The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships—MARPOL—is the key international convention addressing issues around the marine pollution from ships. It has six technical annexes dealing respectively with oil, noxious liquid substances in bulk, harmful substances in package forms, sewage, garbage and air pollution. The amendments to MARPOL, which enter into force on 1 January 2013 and which are reflected in this bill, will impose new restrictions on the discharge of sewage from passenger ships in special areas of the sea which are particularly sensitive or vulnerable to pollution, strengthen the regulations relating to the disposal by ships of garbage at sea by updating definitions and including new discharge requirements, and make mandatory an energy efficiency design index for new ships of 400 gross tonnage and over that will be built on or after 1 January 2013 for international trade, and a ship energy efficiency management plan from that date for all ships of 400 gross tonnage and over that are engaged in international trade.

The bill also clarifies the application of federal jurisdiction in the parts of the territorial sea that lie between Australian baselines which are generally at or near the shore and three nautical miles out to sea from those baselines, and repeals the Stevedoring Imposition Act 1998 and the Stevedoring Levy Collection Act 1998. These acts impose the stevedoring levy and are redundant as the stevedoring levy ceased in May 2006. This bill and others already before the parliament position Australia to make the most of our future as a shipping nation while ensuring that safety and the protection of our treasured marine environment is paramount. I commend this bill to the House.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

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