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Marine Navigation (Regulatory Functions) Levy Bill 1991



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House: House of Representatives

Portfolio: Transport and Communications

Purpose

To recover the costs of the maritime and safety regulatory functions of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority by imposing, on a sliding scale, a levy on certain sea-going ships.

Background

On 1 January 1991, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (the Authority) assumed responsibility for certain functions currently performed by the Maritime Operations Division of the Department of Transport and Communications. These functions include the provision and maintenance of marine navigational aids; maintenance of maritime communication services; pollution control measures; coordination of marine search and rescue; control of safety standards of foreign ships in Australian waters and safe handling and carriage of seaborne cargo; and marine survey. Currently, the cost of providing these services, other than maritime and safety regulatory functions, are recovered through the collection of the Marine Navigation Levy, the Protection of the Sea Levy and certain other charges. In addition, in the 1990-91 Budget, the Government announced that the Authority will receive a separate payment from the Commonwealth for the performance of its search and rescue activities and, until 1992-93, for the safety/regulatory functions which are to be fully cost recovered by 1993-94. 1 Money collected under the various levy arrangements does not go directly to the Authority for use solely on the area to which the levy relates. The funds collected go to consolidated revenue and an amount equal to this is then paid to the Authority.

The establishment of the Authority was announced by the Minister for Transport and Communications on 1 June 1989, as part of the Government's statement on waterfront and shipping reform. The justification for the establishment of the Authority given by the Minister in the June Statement was that such an Authority would be more responsive to the maritime industry than the Maritime Operations Division of the Department. In the Department's Annual Report 1988-89, the establishment of the Authority is described as an important element of the Government's reform package to address the fundamental problems facing the shipping industry and that the establishment of the Authority would place the regulatory and cost-recovered government services to the maritime industry on a more commercial and responsive basis. 2

Main Provisions

The Bill will have effect from 1 July 1991 (clause 2).

Expressions used in this Bill will have the same meaning as in the Marine Navigation (Regulatory Functions) Levy Collection Bill 1991 (clause 4).

A levy will be imposed on sea-going ships by clause 6.

The rates of levy for sea-going ships will be set by clause 7. The rates of levy will be set at:

*$0.04, or a prescribed amount, per ton below 5000 tons;

*$0.03, or a prescribed amount, per ton over 500 and up to 20 000 tons;

*$0.03, or a prescribed amount, per ton over 20 000 and up to 50 000 tons;

*$0.02, or a prescribed amount, per ton over 50 000 tons.

Clause 8 provides that the Governor-General may make regulations prescribing rates of levy and that after 30 June 1993, the regulations are not to increase a rate of levy by more than 15% per annum.

References

1. Budget Statements 1990-91, Budget Paper No. 1, pp. 3.216 and 3.127.

2. Department of Transport and Communications, Annual Report 1988-89, p. 183.

Bills Digest Service 4 March 1991

Parliamentary Research Service

For further information, if required, contact the Economics and Commerce Group on 06 2772460.

This Digest does not have any official legal status. Other sources should be consulted to determine the subsequent official status of the Bill.

Commonwealth of Australia 1991

Except to the extent of the uses permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without the prior written consent of the Parliamentary Library, other than by Members of the Australian Parliament in the course of their official duties.

Published by the Department of the Parliamentary Library, 1991.