The National Safety Committee for domestic commercial vessels (the Committee) provides advice to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) on a range of strategic challenges facing the domestic commercial vessel industry in the context of Australian government policy and priorities and provide a forum to which Regional Safety Committees can refer matters for consideration.


This Committee will provide AMSA with advice on the following strategic themes:

Regulation and compliance – keeping pace with technology, balancing community and industry expectations and using data to refine regulatory and operational settings.


Environment – impacts of a changing climate, and changing energy sources.


Stakeholders - impacts of COVID-19 on industry and the long term recovery.


Technology – improved connectivity and information exchange, increased use of automation.

Members will be asked to contribute to the Committee by providing their insights on emerging trends, future challenges, and key drivers on the matters discussed by the group.


  • The Committee will provide advice to AMSA on matters that fall within the scope of its legislative remit for domestic commercial vessels.
  • The  Committee is advisory only and will not make decisions
  • Advice provided will be considered and used by AMSA to inform its approach to policy, regulations and operations.



The Committee will consist primarily of peak bodies and industry associations representing the domestic commercial vessel sector and related maritime industries.

Members will be appointed by AMSA for their ability to represent the wider interests of their stakeholder group.

The Committee will comprise a Chair, Secretariat, members, observers and guests. 

The effectiveness of the Committee will be reviewed every 2 years and the timing will correspond with the review of the Committee’s composition.


The Secretariat will be provided by the AMSA and is responsible for the efficient coordination of committee activities, including:

  • Liaising with members to ensure they are adequately prepared for the meeting.
  • Ensuring members are aware of their duties.
  • Communicating actions and outcomes to Regional Safety Committees.


The Chair of the Committee will be AMSA’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer.

The Chair may nominate an alternate to cover absences or conflicting priorities of the regulator. 

The Chair will ensure:

  • Meetings and the business of the committee is managed efficiently and effectively.
  • All members and invitees are engaged at committee meetings.
  • Clear outcomes are reached in regard to each matter discussed.
  • The committee fulfils the objectives under the Terms of Reference.
  • The advice or guidance provided by members will be well considered.



Members are responsible for:

  • Represent the wider interests of their industry sector.
  • Making every effort to participate in meetings (including those out of session).
  • Preparing for meetings by reviewing meeting papers before the session and where required seeking clarification.
  • Seeking advice from the stakeholders they represent on matters to be tabled.
  • Participating in discussions (including out-of-session) and providing clear and unambiguous advice to the Chair.
  • Supporting the work of the Committee publicly.


A member is generally appointed for a fixed term of two years unless one of the following occur:

  • The member tenders their earlier resignation (in writing) to the Chair.
  • The member is released from their appoint at the discretion of the Chair. 
  • The member breaches the appointment terms and conditions set out in this document, resulting in their termination (in writing) by the Chair.
  • The member’s tenure is extended by the Chair in agreement with the member.

Participation costs

Committee members are required to book and pay for all travel and associated costs to participate in meetings. AMSA will meet all venue and meeting costs, a light meal will be provided for in person meetings in excess of four hours duration.


Where a member is advised that information is confidential the member must not disclose that information without the approval of the Chair.

Media engagement

Members must not discuss the Committees work with any media or social media agency.  This includes providing formal or informal background information, documents or comments.  A member approached by the media for information relating to the Committee must direct the media to AMSA.

Publication of biographies

Members consent to the public disclosure of their appointment as a committee member, and will be asked to also consent to the publication of a photo and basic biographical details about them.

Observers and guests

Where it is beneficial to the work of the Committee, the Chair may invite any of the following:

  • federal, state or territory government agencies 
  • representatives from other AMSA stakeholder committees 
  • subject matter experts
  • guest speakers.


All participants will agree to demonstrate the following values at all times during their engagement on the Committee.

Professional – engage with and contribute to the work to deliver quality outcomes. 


Respectful – act with integrity, treat others with respect and courtesy.


Collaborative – value the opinions of others and work collectively to achieve outcomes. 

Governance arrangements


The Committee may have up to 14 permanent members, appointed for a two year fixed term. 

The Committee will consist primarily of organisations who can represent a group of stakeholders. However, AMSA recognises that industry has many experts able to provide valuable insights. Two positions will be reserved for independent experts with extensive skills and expertise in any sector of the maritime industry. These experts will be expected to contribute independent views to matters discussed.

Committee representation will seek to represent both the diversity of domestic commercial vessel operations and related industries (as listed) and industry’s geographic distribution to bring both national and state based views. 

Domestic commercial vessel operations

  • Class 1 - Passenger vessel (13 or more passengers)
  • Class 2 - Non-passenger vessel (up to 12 passengers)
  • Class 3 - Fishing vessel
  • Class 4 - Hire and drive vessel used by the hirer for recreational purposes only


  • Offshore operations (within 200 nautical miles)
  • Restricted offshore operations (within 30 nautical miles)
  • Marine tourism
  • Inland tourism
  • Fishing 
  • Aquaculture 
  • Oil and gas 
  • Supply chain
  • Tug and barge
  • Builders and architects
  • Marine surveyors
  • Seafarer training
  • Seafarer welfare 
  • Volunteer marine rescue associations
  • Heritage vessel operations
  • Indigenous heritage

When establishing and reviewing the Committee’s membership, AMSA will invite expressions of interest from peak bodies, industry associations and individuals who are engaged and interested in improving safety in the domestic commercial vessel sector.

Expressions of interest will be considered by an AMSA selection panel against the organisation’s ability to demonstrate the following:

  • A strong commitment and engagement in improving safety. 
  • The industry sector they are able to representation, including geographical spread.
  • An established network and regular communication with the sector they are representing.
  • The knowledge, and depth of experience, of the nominated representative in the sector.

In the event where more than one submission is found suitable for a particular sector, the selection panel will rank the submissions. Positions will be offered to the submission found most suitable. Other submissions found suitable will be placed on file and invited, in order of suitability, to become a member when the initial appointment period expires (2 years). 

  • If the desired composition cannot be achieved through the selection process, AMSA may invite specific organisations to participate in the Committee. 


AMSA will establish a selection panel for appointing and reviewing the Committee's membership.

The selection panel makes recommendations to the Chair of the Committee for their consideration. The Chair will confirm the appointments, giving due consideration to the recommendations of the selection panel.

The decision by the Chair is final.

Meeting coordination 

The Chair and Secretariat will make every effort to schedule meetings at a time convenient to Members, and to provide at least one month notice of confirmed meeting dates.

Meetings will be held twice a year, by virtual means. The Chair may propose that one of the meetings be held in person and at that meeting, members will have the option of attending in person or virtually.

The Secretariat, will arrange meetings and support attendance, by telephone, video conference or other appropriate means as necessary.

Members will advise the Secretariat as soon as possible if they are unable to attend a meeting. If members are unable to attend a meeting, they may nominate a proxy for consideration and endorsement by the Chair.

In the event the majority of members cannot attend on a proposed date the Chair will consult on an alternate date for a meeting to be held.

Agendas and papers

Meeting agendas will be drafted by the Secretariat, in consultation with the Chair and members. The Chair will approve all papers prior to circulation.

Members can propose agenda items and papers or suggest relevant guests. Suggestions should be sent to the Secretariat, for consideration by the Chair.

Agendas and papers will be provided to members two weeks before the next scheduled meeting. Hardcopy meeting papers will not be provided. 

Late submission of papers will only be accepted following approval by the Chair. 

The Secretariat will provide a level of quality assurance on papers, ensuring consistency in the use of relevant templates, and correction of typographical and grammatical errors.

Any presentations for use at meetings must be submitted 5 days in advance of the meeting, indicating whether the presentation can be circulated after the meeting.


Meeting outcomes will be taken by the Secretariat at every meeting, summarising discussions, noting guidance, advice or recommendations made by the Committee and recording any dissenting views. Records will be a summary, not a transcript, of the proceedings. 

The draft meeting outcomes will be emailed to members within three weeks following the meeting, where practicable. Members will be given two weeks to lodge comments or corrections. In the event consensus cannot be reached on the content of external outputs, the Chair will make the final decision on the content of the report. Dissenting views will be noted.

Meeting outcomes will be made available publicly through AMSA’s website.

All records will be maintained consistent with AMSA’s recordkeeping policies and procedures.

Out-of-session items

The Chair may approve matters to be considered out-of-session. Members are required to respond to the Secretariat within the stated timeframes. All out of session decisions shall be noted at the next scheduled committee meeting and recorded in the meeting outcomes.

Download the terms of reference for the National and Regional Safety Committees (PDF 196.65 KB)