Safer seas along Australia's northern coastline

Media Release

WT192/2014

07 October 2014

A new plan to manage shipping through the Great Barrier Reef, Torres Strait and the Coral Sea will put maritime navigation on a safer course.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the new North East Shipping Management Plan, developed over a two-year period, takes account of projected growth in shipping over the next two decades.

“While the Great Barrier Reef, Torres Strait and Coral Sea are among the best-protected waters in the world, the Australian Government is committed to ensuring these sensitive areas remain safe and secure,” Mr Truss said.

“Today's North East Shipping Management Plan builds on our existing world-class shipping management to proactively manage risks and further minimise potential environmental impacts.

“Importantly, this shipping strategy has been a partnership, jointly developed by the Australian and Queensland Governments.

“The strategy will aid ship safety and the prevention of ship-sourced pollution through a number of proposed measures, including more proactive traffic management services for high risk shipping areas.

“It includes additional protections for the Coral Sea, such as new ship routing measures to avoid collisions and groundings in vulnerable areas of the south west Coral Sea.”

Mr Truss said that major industry and environmental stakeholders have been consulted in the development of the shipping management plan.

“We hope that this plan will increase community awareness and understanding of Australia's stringent shipping management regime and out determination to keep our waters clean and safe,” Mr Truss said.

“It will also assist decision-makers to determine priorities, providing a strategic guide and a programme of options that will improve safety and bolster environmental safeguards.”

The North East Shipping Management Plan is available from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority's website at: http://www.amsa.gov.au/forms-and-publications/Publications/AMSA439.pdf