Consistent with section 16EA of the PGPA Rule 2014 and 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 to our purpose and key activities 
  • are reliable, verifiable and unbiased 
  • contain an appropriate mix of quantitative and qualitative measures 
  • include output measures, and effectiveness/efficiency measures if appropriate 
  • provide a basis for assessment of our performance over time.

Our measures are predominantly at an outcome level and measure the achievement of our purpose and vision – safe and clean seas, saving lives. We also include some measures that demonstrate our performance against the three principles of regulator best practice described in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Regulator Performance Guide (June 2021):

  • continuous improvement and building trust
  • risk-based and data-driven 
  • collaboration and engagement

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

Consistent with the PGPA Act section 37, AMSA has a measures library which provides the detailed evidence base for reporting, including measure owners, definitions, targets, tolerances, data sources and calculation methods.

Safe seas

# Measure Target Method System7 RPG
1 Safety of foreign-flagged ships and Australian-flagged ships (under the Navigation Act 2012) operating in Australian waters is demonstrated through the proportion of very serious and serious incidents to total port arrivals <1.5% Quantitative Shipsys 2. Risk-based and data driven
Portfolio Budget Statement (PBS) measure
Rationale: Indicates whether standards are being met
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 Port State Control (PSC) risk-based inspection targets are met 100% Quantitative Shipsys 2. Risk-based and data driven
Rationale: 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
Using the risk profile (P1=high, P4=low) of individual ships as a basis, our inspection regime – as a preventative measure – ensures we concentrate our resources on those ships that pose the greatest threat to safety and the environment.
3 Improvement in the safety of domestic commercial vessels is demonstrated through:
3.1 The average number of passenger fatalities on domestic commercial vessels since 2018 trending downwards Trending downwards Quantitative Incident reporting system 1. Continuous improvement and building trust
3.2 The five-year rolling average fatality rate (crew)8 on domestic commercial vessels in Australia. ≤79 Qualitative Incident reporting system 2. Risk-based and data driven
Rationale: Both sub-measures indicate whether AMSA’s regulatory regime and compliance monitoring are increasingly preventing serious safety incidents. The monitoring of this data focuses AMSA on regulatory changes to those areas which will have the greatest impact and our compliance activities to the highest risk operations.

Clean seas

# Measure Target Method System7 RPG
4 Reducing trend in the number of significant pollution incidents10 Trending downwards Quantitative NEMO 1. Continuous improvement and building trust
Rationale: AMSA’s operations, such as ship inspections, safety education and regulation, are preventative measures that reduce the risk of a significant pollution incident. A reducing trend in the number of significant pollution incidents is an indicator of the success of these measures, which collectively contribute to preventing marine pollution.
A significant pollution incident is now defined as a Level 2 (or higher) incident in accordance with the National Plan for Maritime Environmental Emergencies.
5 Timeliness of response to significant oil spill incidents within 4 hours of report received Quantitative NEMO and audit reports 1. Continuous improvement and building trust
PBS measure
Rationale: 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 and efficiency of AMSA’s marine pollution response arrangements.

Saving lives

# Measure Target Method System7 RPG
6 Coordinate responses within the Australian Search and Rescue (SAR) region to save as many lives as possible of those at risk11 100% Quantitative12 Nexus Not applicable
PBS measure
Measures AMSA’s overall search and rescue (SAR) coordination capability to respond to persons at risk within the Australian search and rescue region.
A person at risk includes both the NATSAR defined “person in distress” (a person is considered to be in distress when threatened by grave and imminent danger and requiring immediate assistance); and any person who, without a SAR response, is in danger of being in distress.
A life is considered to have been saved (as defined by NATSAR and AMSA) “when the person has been retrieved from a distress situation, provided for initial medical or other needs, and delivered to a place of safety.”
Lives assisted are defined by NATSAR and AMSA as, “persons that were not in distress but were provided assistance and, if not assisted, would be at risk of exposure to grave and imminent danger.”
AMSA’s intention is to coordinate the response to save all lives at risk (100 per cent). In practicality, the circumstances surrounding individual incidents — for example, severe medical conditions requiring specialist treatment, bad weather— affect the possibility of success of a search and rescue response. This reality is reflected in the previous results, ranging between 95-99 per cent annually.

Regulatory performance

# Measure Target Method System7 RPG
7 Specific activities and performance that contribute to continuous improvement and building trust Various Qualitative Various13 1. Continuous improvement and building trust
Rationale: Responsiveness, resolution of issues and inquiries, clarity of guidance and simple access to quality, consistent material and interactions build trust in a regulator.
Information from stakeholders through reported issues, difficulties and inquiries, assists AMSA to refine its guidance, understand industry concerns and improve accessibility of materials and systems. This in turn, demonstrates we understand the issues, are listening and evolving our systems and capabilities to improve.
A focus on continuous improvement is a key requirement of ISO certification, evidenced by case studies.
Composite measure: contributing measures: satisfaction with the resolution of inquiries through AMSA Connect (quantitative – target 90%); maintenance of ISO certification (quantitative – achieved); business improvement case studies (qualitative).14
8 Specific activities and performance that contribute to collaboration and engagement  Various Qualitative Various15 3. Collaboration and engagement
Rationale: It is important that AMSA provides stakeholders with the opportunity to influence regulation that impacts on them through open, transparent and timely consultation.
It is also important that AMSA provides clear, up-to-date guidance and information so our regulated community understand their obligations and responsibilities, which in turn encourages voluntary compliance.
Feedback from our stakeholders helps us to improve, including understanding how effective and practical the regulation was to implement and apply.
Composite measure: contributing measures: effective communication to stakeholders (quantitative – target annual increase in audience reach and engagement across AMSA’s digital channels); level of regulated community awareness of their obligations and responsibilities (quantitative – target 10% of website users and sessions have resulted from campaigns); consultation with our regulated community and key stakeholders is open, transparent, and timely (Quantitative – target 100% of regulatory changes publicly consulted with impacted stakeholders and outcomes informed by industry feedback); regulator stakeholder survey (quantitative – target average greater than or equal to 3 on a scale of 1–6).16



7 ShipSys: IT system used to manage vessel and cargo inspections, a range of approvals, certificates and determinations, etc, vessel surveys and marine incidents.
NEMO (National Environmental Marine Operations) System: web-based customisable incident management system, based on Noggin OCA (Organise, Communicate, Act) designed to manage and monitor all national pollution and casualty incidents.
NEXUS: system providing operational Search and Rescue (SAR) staff with the ability to communicate with other SAR authorities including SAR crew, air traffic control, state and territory authorities. Incident reporting and recoding system (SharePoint) is used to collect and collate data on passenger fatalities

8 “crew” means individuals employed or engaged in any capacity on board the vessel on the business of the vessel (including the master of the vessel).

9 AMSA target is less than the average of comparative industries (n=7) – agriculture; forestry and fishing and transport; postal and warehousing. AMSA will continue to monitor and review to ensure selected industries remain relevant.

10 Proxy efficiency measure

11 Replaces previous measure 6: ‘Save as many lives as possible of those at risk’. The change reflects the reality that while AMSA is the coordinating authority for rescue efforts in Australia’s search and rescue region, the rescue may be executed by one of our public or private sector partners.

12 The AMSA Response Centre (ARC) has established an Incident Evaluation Panel to conduct a quarterly review of each operational incident where AMSA was the coordinating authority and life was lost to determine whether any action by the ARC could have prevented the loss of life. For the purpose of KPI 6, lives at risk which could not have been saved by any SAR response will be subtracted from the total number of lives at risk.

13 Includes: automated and ad hoc surveys; results of ISO surveillance audits

14 Case studies: Inspections Targeting Solution, Domestic Stakeholder Engagement, National System Costing, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

15 Includes: website data and campaign dashboards; consultation records/TRIM; online survey results

16 The purpose of the Commonwealth 2015 Regulator Performance Framework (RPF) was to encourage regulators to undertake their functions with the minimum impact necessary to achieve regulatory objectives, and to effect positive ongoing and lasting cultural change. The RPF consisted of six outcomes-based key performance indicators (KPIs). In 2021 the RPF was superseded by the Regulator Performance Guide (RPG) which has three principles. Due to strong alignment between the six previous RPF KPIs and the RPG principles, AMSA has maintained the same survey question set throughout, providing continuity and the opportunity to identify trends etc over a longer time period.