Minister’s Statement of Expectations and AMSA’s Statement of Intent

Statement of expectations for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority for the period to 30 June 2024.
18 March 2022

The Australian Government issues Statements of Expectations to statutory agencies through relevant Ministers. These important documents allow Ministers to provide clarity about their expectations of a statutory authority, including the policies and priorities the statutory authority is expected to observe in conducting its operations, how it will achieve its objectives, carry out its functions, and exercise its powers.

The Deputy Prime Minister’s Statement of Expectations dated 11 November 2021 and AMSA’s Statement of Intent dated 11 January 2022 are provided below.  Together, they outline AMSA’s approach to achieving the goals that are set out in the Minister’s Statement of Expectations, the expectations for the strategic direction of our agency, and the way we plan to perform our functions.


  1. This Statement of Expectations outlines my expectations for the strategic direction of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and the manner in which AMSA should perform its functions. This Statement is a notice to AMSA for the purpose of section 9 A of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority Act 1990 (the AMSA Act), and has effect from the date of signature until 30 June 2024, unless a new Statement is issued during that time.
  2. This statement does not alter AMSA's requirements to perform its legislated functions to promote maritime safety, protect the marine environment from pollution and other environmental damage caused by shipping, and to preserve life through search and rescue services.
  3. AMSA should always perform its functions in accordance with the AMSA Act, the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013, and other legislation.
  4. AMSA should always perform its functions in the public interest, in line with its mission and values, and taking account of the Australian Government's priorities.

Regulatory Approach

  1. I expect AMSA, in the performance of its regulatory functions, to be guided by the principles outlined in the Government's Regulator Performance Guide:
    • Continuous improvement and building trust - adopt a whole-of-system perspective, continuously improving AMSA's performance, capability and culture to build trust and confidence in Australia's maritime regulatory settings.
    • Risk based and data driven - manage risks proportionately and maintain essential safeguards while minimising regulatory burden, and leveraging data and digital technology to support those they regulate to comply and grow.
    • Collaboration and engagement - be a transparent and responsive communicator, implementing regulations in a modern and collaborative way.
  2. I support AMSA increasing or maintaining requirements for maritime sectors where this is justified by risk, and where costs and safety or environmental benefits have been considered. I also expect AMSA to pursue opportunities to simplify requirements or reduce burden in line with the Government's deregulation agenda, particularly for parts of industry with lower risk operations.
  3. I expect AMSA to ensure that safety and environmental requirements are practicable for industry, and to take into account the diverse operating environments of different maritime industries across Australia, including those in regional and remote areas.
  4. I expect AMSA, within their regulatory framework, to seek to accommodate innovation and the adoption of new and emerging technologies in maritime sectors, particularly where these innovations offer improved safety, environmental, operational or administrative outcomes.
  5. I expect AMSA to work with my Department to advise me where laws are not fit for purpose or substantially impede this regulatory approach, or wherever a decision of Government may otherwise be required to overcome significant barriers for AMSA.
  6. I undertake to give due consideration to such issues if presented to me, and to work constructively with AMSA and its Board to support AMSA and create an environment that enables best practice performance.

International shipping

  1. Given the importance of shipping for the Australian economy, AMSA should continue its excellent, longstanding work influencing, implementing and upholding Australia's international maritime obligations. This includes engaging constructively at international forums, including the International Maritime Organization, and pursuing outcomes that support safe, sustainable, and efficient international trade, through a collaborative, whole-of-government approach.
  2. I commend AMSA on the capacity-building work it undertakes with countries in our region, and expect AMSA to continue this work when opportunities are provided by Government.
  3. Recognising that international shipping operates to an internationally agreed set of standards under mature safety management requirements, I expect AMSA to ensure safety and pollution prevention standards are maintained for Australian flagged ships and ships entering Australian ports in order to maintain the low risk of major incidents involving shipping.
  4. I expect AMSA to continue to refine its risk-based approach to targeting inspections of visiting ships.

Domestic commercial vessel safety

  1. I acknowledge that the domestic commercial vessel fleet is diverse and includes fishing, tourism, transport and construction operators, ranging from locally-based sole traders and small businesses to larger national enterprises.
  2. I expect AMSA to work towards minimising the risk of incidents in the domestic commercial vessel fleet to the lowest reasonably practicable level, recognising that AMSA is not solely responsible for all maritime safety risk, and that eliminating all risk is not practical or possible.
  3. I expect AMSA to focus on streamlining regulatory requirements and its service delivery models across its domestic functions, recognising the needs of domestic commercial vessel operators that are located in a range of urban, regional and remote locations around Australia. Noting the Government has committed to review the delivery costs and industry charges for the national system for domestic commercial vessel safety, I expect AMSA to actively examine all aspects of its domestic commercial vessel operations to identify efficiencies, while delivering effective safety regulation.

Data and reporting

  1. I expect AMSA to continue its efforts to improve its collection, analysis, and publication of safety data. AMSA should continue improving the sophistication and efficiency of the use of data in its systems and activities, including by investigating opportunities to improve or automate processes using available data.
  2. In line with recommendations of the Productivity Commission in its report on National Transport Regulatory Reform, I expect AMSA to continue implementing initiatives to actively encourage reporting of safety incidents. AMSA should consider whether further reporting channels or education activities may help raise awareness of how reporting can support improved safety outcomes for industry.
  3. I also expect AMSA to continue efforts to publish more comprehensive data about maritime safety incidents and compliance outcomes and ensure all published data is accessible and supports the regulated community to manage their safety risks.

Grandfathered safety requirements

  1. Several Coronial inquiries, as well as recent inquiries by the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee and the Productivity Commission, have recommended changes to grandfathered requirements for commercial vessel safety.
  2. I recognise that the grandfathered fleet of domestic commercial vessels consists of a wide range of vessels of different ages, built to different standards. I expect AMSA to review the safety risks of grandfathered standards, using best available data and evidence, and identify any sectors of the fleet where ongoing grandfathering arrangements may pose safety concerns.
  3. I expect AMSA to continue to work with industry to implement changes to high risk grandfathered requirements where benefits to safety justify potential costs. However, I expect AMSA to advise Government on how safety risks should be addressed where there may be significant implementation costs or change for sectors of the grandfathered fleet, including where costs may fall mor'e heavily on a partfoular part of industry or may be felt more in specific regions. I undertake to give due consideration to such matters if presented to me.

Search and rescue and emergency response

  1. I expect AMSA to continue to provide and coordinate high quality search and rescue services and emergency response capabilities under the National Plan for Maritime Environmental Emergencies. These efforts have rescued thousands of people and, following rare significant shipping incidents in Australia, have contained potentially devastating environmental and economic impacts.
  2. I expect AMSA to work with governments to review whether the National Plan for Maritime Emergencies remains effective and contribute a maritime perspective to development of the Government's emergency response arrangements for Australia.
  3. Should any matters warrant improvement, I expect AMSA to work collaboratively to address this, including working with my Department to provide further advice to me as required. I undertake to give due consideration to such matters if presented to me.

Transparency and Accountability

  1. I expect AMSA to provide me with a Statement of lntent in response to this Statement of Expectations for my consideration and agreement within three months. AMSA's Statement of Intent should set out how it will meet the priorities set out in my Statement of Expectations.
  2. Once approved, I expect AMSA to publish both Statements, and to reflect actions that implement my expectations in its Corporate Plans and Annual Reports.
  3. Further to the above, I expect the AMSA Board to monitor AMSA's performance against this statement, and to keep me and my Department informed of its significant actions in relation to the matters set out in this Statement of Expectations.
  4. I expect the AMSA Board to promptly advise me about any matters that may significantly impact AMSA or may present challenges that warrant Government consideration.
  5. I also expect AMSA's Board to at least annually provide me with frank, high-level advice on AMSA's progress towards meeting the expectations set out in this statement.


The Hon Barnaby Joyce

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development

Date: 11/11/2021

Last updated: 23 March 2022