Costing outputs through activity-based costing techniques is a powerful tool in management, providing accurate information on the costs of activities and processes in which to make informed decisions. However, it does not provide any in-depth analysis that may be symmetrically tracked (or measured) to assess achievement of predetermined objectives in support of AMSA’s policy outcomes. To achieve a more comprehensive analysis alignment of costing to performance indicators (or targets) is essential.

Effective performance measurement is key to ensure objectives are met in keeping with stakeholder expectations. Reporting on key performance indicators provides a consistent and repeatable framework to communicate goals, create measurable objectives, and it allows for benchmarking.

Performance indicators and measurements are based on non-financial, as well as financial information. These can be tricky to develop as indicators are usually confused with business metrics. A relevant performance indicator provides information that is significant and useful to AMSA and its stakeholders, and is attributable to activities.

In establishing key performance indicators, the SMART criteria is used:

S         Is the goal of the activity specific?

M           Can you measure progress towards that goal?

A           Is the goal realistically attainable?

R           How relevant is the goal to AMSA?

T            What is the timeframe for achieving the goal?

Overtime, the SMART criteria will be expanded to SMARTER with the additional of Evaluation and Revaluation. These last two steps are important to ensure the ongoing relevance of each measure.

Measures for 2021-22

Consistent with the Department of Finance’s Resource Management Guide 131 Developing Good Performance Information, AMSA reviews its non-financial performance measures annually to ensure they remain relevant and fit-for-purpose.

Our measures are predominantly at an outcome level and measure the achievement of our vision - safe and clean seas, saving lives.

In 2021-22 this also includes some measures that demonstrate our performance against the three new principles of regulator best practice described in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s (DPMC) Regulator Performance Guide (April 2021):

  1. Continuous improvement and building trust: regulators adopt a whole-of-system perspective, continuously improving their performance, capability and culture, to build trust and confidence in Australia’s regulatory settings.
  2. Risk-based and data-driven: regulators maintain essential safeguards, using data and digital technology to manage risks proportionately to minimise regulatory burden and to support those they regulate to comply and grow.   
  3. Collaboration and engagement: regulators are transparent and responsive, implementing regulations in a modern and collaborative way.  

Currently reported through a separate process, from 2021-22 onwards regulator performance will be an integral part of our overall non-financial performance reporting under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013. This is a transition year, and we will incrementally introduce more regulatory performance measures over coming years.

We have also included an efficiency and effectiveness measure related to environmental marine protection activity output. We will introduce more of these types of measures as our reporting systems mature.

To help readers follow year-on-year performance any changes to measures are explained in the rationale and footnotes.

AMSA is developing a measures library which provides the detailed evidence base for reporting, including measure owners, definitions, targets, tolerances, data sources and calculation methods.

Non-financial performance measures for regulatory charging activities are summarised in Table 12, broken down by vision outcome level, activity output, and rational and success factors, accompanying a set target.

Table 12: Performance targets for 2021-22 – regulatory charging activities

Activity outputsMeasureRationale and success factorsTarget
Safe Seas – ensuring regulated vessels and seafarers are operating safely and meeting standards

Seafarer and ship safety under Navigation Act 2012 and other Acts (Regulatory Functions Levy)


Safety of foreign-flagged vessels and Australian-flagged vessels (under the Navigation Act 2012) operating in Australian waters is demonstrated through the proportion of very serious incidents total report arrivals1.Indicates whether standards are being met≤ 0.5%
Port State control (PSC) risk-based inspection targets are being met.Demonstrates that AMSA’s PSC inspections are focused on higher risk ships which ensures resources are concentrated on those ships that pose the greatest threat to safety and the environment.100%
Clean Seas – preventing pollution from shipping
Environmental marine protection (Protection of the Sea Levy)Reducing trend in the number of significant pollution incidents2.A reducing trend in the number of significant pollution incidents is an indicator of the success of AMSA’s preventative measures across its operation (e.g. ship inspection, safety education, regulation) which all contribute to preventing marine pollution.Trending towards zero
Timeliness of response to significant oil spill incidents3.The time taken to ready AMSA oil spill response equipment and response personnel for mobilisation to a Level 2 (or higher) oil spill incident is an indicator of the effectiveness of AMSA’s marine pollution response arrangements.Within four (4) hours


  1. Marine incidents are classified by AMSA into one of three severity levels: (1) very serious; (2) serious; and (3) less serious. Several factors are considered by AMSA to decide whether an incident is deemed very serious and/or serious. These include, fatalities, serious injuries, loss of vessel, damage to vessel and equipment; serious pollution and other incidents that result in serious consequences (i.e. fire; grounding; collisions etc.) Incidents are categorised individually.
  2. A significant pollution incident is now defined as a Level 2 (or higher) incident in accordance with the National Plan for Maritime Environmental Emergencies. Level 2 incidents are more complex in size, duration, resource management, and risk. Fifteen characteristics that together constitute a Level 2 incident was a more comprehensive descriptor than using a single volume-based data.
  • Multiple jurisdictions
  • Some functions delegated or Sections created
  • Routine multi-agency response
  • Outline incident plan
  • Requires intra-state response
  • Escalated response
  • Multiple shift days to week
  • Single hazard
  • Potential for loss of life
  • Significant environmental impacts and recovery may take months, with remediation required
  • Groups of fauna or threatened fauna
  • Business failure
  • Ongoing reduced social services
  • Medium term infrastructure failure
  • National media coverage
  1. A significant oil spill incident is a Level 2 (or higher) incident – refer to note 2.