New legislation to protect polar regions

Media Release

dc027/2017

16 February 2017

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester today introduced amendments to maritime legislation that will further protect the planet’s polar regions from the impact of ship pollution.

“Through the International Maritime Organization, Australia has been working closely with other countries, the shipping industry and environmental groups to develop the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters, called the ‘polar code’,”Mr Chester said.

“The Government is amending the Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 1983, to align our domestic law with our international obligations.  This will allow Australia to play its part in protecting the world’s most delicate geographical locations.

“The amendments will outline a set of requirements to reduce marine pollution by ensuring further discharge restrictions for oil, noxious liquid substances, sewage, and garbage for certain ships operating in polar waters.

“Specifically, the amendments will apply to the Antarctic Area and Arctic waters.

“Australia has a strong national interest in Antarctica, with responsibilities for a large portion of the Southern Ocean, including in the safety of shipping and the environmental protection of Antarctic waters.

“Polar regions are known for their unique pristine environment, remoteness and harsh weather conditions

“The amendments I have introduced will go a long way towards improving shipping practices, reducing marine pollution, and ensuring we meet our international obligations.

“Protecting Antarctic and Arctic waters delivers on Australia’s responsibility under the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL)and benefits the greater good in preserving this unique part of the planet,” Mr Chester said.