Call for comment on proposed coastal shipping reforms

Media Release


21 March 2017

  • Aim is to ensure coastal shipping carries an increased share of the national freight transport task
  • Proposals would substantially reduce regulatory burden

The Federal Government is proposing greater flexibility for coastal shipping and new training opportunities in a discussion paper aimed at boosting coastal shipping activity.

Commonwealth Government is seeking comment from ship operators, shipping companies, and other relevant stakeholders on proposed changes to ensure coastal shipping plays an increasing role in Australia's freight transport network.

Releasing the government's Coastal Shipping Reforms Discussion Paper today, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said coastal shipping could take long distance cargo off our highways and railway lines to ease future freight demands on the national transport network.

“Currently, 15 per cent of Australia's domestic freight is moved by ship, but with Australia's extensive coastline and broad network of ports, there is the potential for shipping to play a larger role in the national freight task,” Mr Chester said.

“However, it has become clear that limitations in the current regulatory system are working against that potential being realised.

“We need to address a range of administrative issues in the Coastal Trading (Revitalising Australian Shipping) Act 2012, which place unnecessary burdens on shipping companies and the Australian businesses that rely on coastal shipping.

“The intention of this discussion paper is to elicit views about how modifying the Act could help to redress this situation, without changing the basic structure of the current coastal trading regulatory regime.

“The discussion paper also proposes the introduction of a number of seafarer training initiatives aimed at developing and retaining critical maritime skills in Australia,” Mr Chester said.

Written submissions to the discussion paper should be sent to by Friday, 28 April 2017.

To download copies of the Coastal Shipping Reforms Discussion Papergo to: