Cutting red tape in the coastal shipping sector

Media Release

DC268/2017

13 September 2017

The Australian Government is creating simpler and more flexible coastal shipping rules and calls on Labor to support these common sense changes.

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester today introduced into Parliament a Bill to amend the Coastal Trading (Revitalising Australian Shipping) Act 2012, which Labor attempted to delay in the House of Representatives.

Mr Chester said the amendments would reduce red tape that has been identified by stakeholders as adding costs to doing business in Australia.

“Users of coastal shipping services, particularly in the manufacturing, petroleum and primary industry sector, have been calling for the regulatory burden to be reduced to increase flexibility and reduce shipping costs,” Mr Chester said.

“Examples of this include an Australian company, which received a last minute request from a customer for 2,000 tonnes of cargo to meet a customer shortage. Despite already holding a Temporary Licence to carry 8,000 tonnes of cargo, the ship had to wait an extra day in port for a variation to come through, at a cost of $15,000 US dollars in port costs.

“In another instance a shipper was unable to obtain a Temporary Licence to move a piece of heavy machinery between two ports as it required only a single voyage and was therefore ineligible for a Temporary Licence. The machinery was instead moved by road, which required a police escort due to the size of the machinery, and overhead utilities had to be moved.”

The bill will reduce red tape by:

  • Removing the five-voyage minimum requirement for issuing Temporary Licences;
  • Streamlining the licensing process where no General Licence vessels are available;
  • Streamlining the Temporary Licence variation process;
  • Amending the voyage notification requirements and the tolerance limits on cargo volume and loading date variations.

The bill will also broaden the coverage of the regime to allow for greater flexibility for ship operators by:

  • Extending the geographical reach of the Act by amending the definition of ‘coastal trading’ to include voyages to and from other defined places in Australian waters such as offshore installations; and
  • Extending the coverage of the Act to vessels undergoing dry-docking.

“I would like to thank the industry for the feedback received in the consultation process,” Mr Chester said.

“The government will continue to work with industry to develop a sensible and sustainable approach to coastal shipping regulation going forward.”