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Saturday, 18 December 1993
Page: 5143


Senator GARETH EVANS (Minister for Foreign Affairs) (3.42 p.m.) —It is a matter of definition in the act. In the definitional section on page 113, towards the bottom, both offshore place and onshore place are defined. It is stated:

"onshore place" means land or waters within the limits of a State or Territory to which this Act extends.

"offshore place" means any land or waters to which this Act extends, other than land or waters in an onshore place.

So waters that are not onshore; in other words, waters that are beyond the limits of a state or territory are counted as offshore. Others are counted as onshore, as the definition is laid out. That means in practice that the landward side of waters down to the low water mark are onshore. In the case of bays and estuaries, straight lines join the points of the bay. The enclosed territorial or state waters on the landward side are onshore—everything else is offshore.

  There was a policy omission. That was recognised in the Senate committee inquiry and the discussion that took place with DPIE and industry at that time. It is a matter of a very simple drafting amendment to the clauses in question to clarify what was otherwise a source of confusion. We have done that. The draftsmen do that sort of thing all the time. I repeat that it is not a matter of believing it—I am certain there is no longer any problem with it. The onshore regime as I have described it is clearly applicable to these characters of waters. Certainty has been reintroduced and I am sure the industry will be happy about that.