From 1 July 2014, the government will decrease the Protection of
the Sea Levy (PSL) to 11.25 cents per net registered tonne for
defined vessels on an ongoing basis. The PSL revenue was levied to
establish a $10 million pollution response fund to enable the
Australian Maritime Safety Authority to respond quickly to
pollution incidents at sea. The government will now achieve savings
of $39 million over four years by rephasing lower priority maritime
safety initiatives and these savings will offset the reduction in
Norton Rose Fulbright partner
Ernie van Buuren says that the reduction of the PSL will assist
to reduce the cost of conducting shipping business in Australia. He
adds that in recent years shipping rates in Australia have surged
and this reduction in the levy on ships entering Australian ports
will be a welcome measure.
The government is also committed to supporting the recent Review
of Coastal Shipping by the Department of Infrastructure and
Regional Development, which aims to optimise the regulation of the
coastal shipping industry. The review recently gained momentum and
on 8 April 2014 Warren Truss, the Deputy Prime Minister and
Minister for the department, announced the release of an options
paper on approaches to regulating coastal shipping in
In May 2014, the Department also held an open consultation
session in relation to the options to reform the legislation which
manages cabotage regulation, which preserves
freight routes from one Australian port to another for Australian
flagged ships. The government is committed to finding a solution to
balance the interests of Australian industry participants requiring
competitive shipping services, and the interests of shipping
stakeholders seeking to develop an Australian flagged fleet.
Mr van Buuren also says that the Australian maritime industry is
an unfortunate casualty of the government's funding cuts. The
maritime industry's long awaited funding injection to support
future workforce training needs of local seafarers has been now
been cut, with the government set to achieve savings of $5 million
over three years by not proceeding with funding for the Sustaining
Australia's Maritime Skills measure announced in last
The decline, over a number of decades, of the Australian
maritime workforce has made it difficult to competitively recruit,
train and employ Australian crews. Mr van Buuren considers that
this budget measure will significantly increase the challenges that
already exist to rebuild a strong Australian maritime capability.
The shipping task through Australian waters is forecast to double
by 2029-30 which will substantially increase demand for maritime
Look out for further budget updates on specific areas of
industry focus in coming days from Norton Rose Fulbright
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