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Thursday, 7 July 2011
Page: 4331

Senator JOYCE (QueenslandLeader of The Nationals in the Senate) (13:40): I rise to speak about the Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Amendment (Oil Transfers) Bill 2011. As we are well aware, the tankers are getting bigger and bigger and, because we are having to deal with the greater size of the tankers, we are getting more of this thing called ship-to-ship transfer of oil. As such, we have to start regulating and making sure that we have the proper protocols in place so that we do not create an environmental problem.

We have really had only had one experi­ence so far in Australia of these large ship-to-ship transfers, and that was by Caltex. Not for one moment do we suggest that Caltex are not doing a good job—they are. This is just a regulatory measure and it brings us into line with the protocol on the prevention of pollution from ships at sea, MARPOL—the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships.

We have dealt with this on a number of occasions—I think this might be the sixth time that we have been engaged with this act—and it has always been on a bipartisan basis. This is not to do with all ships. As I think has been noted, it is generally ships greater than 150 tonnes dead weight. As such, it requires that as a person goes through areas, there is a process of notifica­tion—notifying people that you are going to do a ship-to-ship transfer—and an operations plan is required to be in place. That operations plan has to be signed off that it has been submitted so that it is properly concurred with.

This is bill is noncontroversial. It was introduced in the other place, and I have had a quick read over the speech by the member for Gippsland, who at that time was repre­senting the shadow minister, Warren Truss. As I said, this is noncontroversial, and I hope that we can deal with this expediently.