AMSA is a Corporate Commonwealth Entity subject to the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 Cth. AMSA reports to the Australian Parliament and Government through the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. The AMSA Board, which is responsible for deciding the Authority’s objectives, strategies and policies, includes AMSA’s Chief Executive Officer. Other members are drawn from private industry and government and bring appropriate skills and expertise to the conduct of AMSA’s important safety maritime activities.

As part of its functions, AMSA holds responsibility for the provision of aids to navigation necessary for ocean and coastal navigation. The costs of providing and maintaining the AMSA aids to navigation network are met by the commercial shipping industry through the marine navigation levy under the Marine Navigation Levy Act 1989 Cth.

Commonwealth management of ocean and coastal navigation can be traced back to 1915 when the Commonwealth Lighthouse Service (CLS) was formed.

AMSA currently has 62 lighthouse sites on its Heritage Register – a database that records heritage management information within entries for each site with identified values. A number of these lighthouses have been in continuous service for over 150 years. In Australia, it is rare to have 19th century industrial buildings still maintaining their original function. Some of these lights are in remote places such as North Reef, which is approximately 120 kilometres northeast of Gladstone, in Queensland, while others form an integral part of a town’s fabric and identity such as Cape Byron in NSW.