Jun 27, 2012

New Legislation to Clean Up our Seas

Today I introduced legislation into the Parliament which will reduce pollution from ships, protect our precious marine environment and help us achieve cleaner seas.

The Maritime Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 requires new ships to adhere to more stringent energy efficiency targets and for all ships to develop energy efficiency management plans setting out how energy savings will be made.

The Bill implements amendments to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) adopted by the Marine Environment Protection Committee of the United Nation’s International Maritime Organization last July.

The Bill makes mandatory the 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. New ships can meet energy efficiency targets through improved hull design and more energy efficient engines.

It also makes mandatory a Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan for all ships of that size. Energy savings can be achieved through speed optimisation and hull maintenance.

Passenger ships operating in designated ‘special areas’ will also face new restrictions relating to the discharge of sewage and the disposal of garbage in environmentally sensitive areas. 

The Australian cruise industry is enjoying strong growth, at an annual rate of about 13 per cent. It’s timely for cruise ships to continue improving their energy practices in a responsible, systematic and sustainable way.

The Bill builds on this Government’s record of ensuring that the laws that protect Australia’s precious marine environment are up to date and remain in step with international developments.

In the last month the Government has introduced into the Parliament a suite of bills that represent the most significant overhaul of Australia’s maritime industry since it was established in 1912. 

We have introduced the National Law Bill to establish a single National Marine Safety Regulator in Australia and the Navigation Bill that modernises the 100 year old Navigation Act. 

The Government’s Stronger Shipping for a Stronger Economy legislative reforms became law last Thursday and from 1 July will commence the vital work of revitalising Australia’s shipping industry.

By strengthening the legislative approach to protecting our pristine marine environment from pollution, we’re doing all we can to protect our waters and fragile environmental assets for future generations.