Marine (Domestic Commercial Vessel National Law Application) Bill (13.06.2013)

Written on the 17 June 2013

Ms CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan) -- I am pleased to rise to make a short contribution to the Marine (Domestic Commercial Vessel National Law Application) Bill 2013. My colleagues Mr Drum, Mr Ondarchie and Mrs Coote have highlighted the government's position, and Mr Drum highlighted the technical nature of many aspects of this bill. Despite its length it is a fairly straightforward bill.

 

Mr Barber -- Tell us your favourite boating story.

 

Ms CROZIER -- I have absolutely no idea what relevance that comment of Mr Barber's has to this bill. This is a serious bill that actually has an impact on many vessels and a number of industries in this state. The Greens are not supportive of commercial activities and jobs; nevertheless this is an important bill for members opposite to understand. As Mr Ondarchie clearly articulated, there are some facts about this bill that have not been understood by members opposite.

 

This bill fulfils Victoria's obligation under an intergovernmental agreement signed by the Council of Australian Governments on 19 August 2011.

 

As I said, the bill affects many people within my electorate of Southern Metropolitan Region. My electorate is bordered by Port Phillip Bay, bayside electorates such as Albert Park, Brighton and Sandringham, and by the Yarra River and the electorates of Kew, Hawthorn, Malvern and Prahran. The extensive waterways in my electorate mean that this bill will impact on some users.

 

In my electorate the different types of vessels affected by the national scheme include paddle boats for hire at the Fairfield boathouse, cruise vessels on the Yarra River and jet ski hire on the bay. In other parts of Victoria there are the Gippsland Lakes hire and drive boats, small fishing and trading vessels and the houseboats for hire at Lake Eildon. As Mrs Coote highlighted, the electorate of Southern Metropolitan Region also includes the port of Melbourne, which provides a huge economic benefit to the state. Last year the coalition government announced the $1.6 billion redevelopment of the port, which will have a significant economic impact on the state of Victoria.

 

Some $82 billion worth of exports and imports flow through that port alone. These are some of the reasons why we have to take this bill seriously in relation to commercial vessels.

 

As I said, many people enjoy leisure activities on the waterways throughout my electorate and this bill does not affect those recreational activities. Victoria has around 1465 domestic and commercial vessels on its waters. This bill covers the 100 commercial vessels that the commonwealth act does not. I am pleased to say that Victoria has had a substantial influence on the national scheme. Much of what has been drawn up at the commonwealth level was based on the Victorian Marine Safety Act 2010 -- including important features such as compliance and enforcement powers and sanctions and safety issues, those issues that Mr Ondarchie very clearly articulated in his contribution -- which was the legislation this government introduced to further protect Victorians on our waterways.

 

As I said, this is not a terribly difficult bill; nevertheless it is an important one. It is important because retaining a state-based regulatory regime for the 100 or so vessels it applies to -- less than 10 per cent of Victoria's commercial vessel fleet -- would be an untenable situation. If that were to be undertaken, it would be a bureaucratic and administrative nightmare to operate. This bill will simplify those aspects and, as I say, cover those 100 or so vessels that the commonwealth act will not cover.

 

In conclusion, I am pleased to say that the government undertook an extensive consultation process, information about which was widely published. In fact the former Minister for Ports wrote to over 3000 vessel owners and encouraged their participation. The Boating Industry Association of Victoria supports the bill, so the endorsement is there, which is another pleasing fact. The Victorian government remains committed to a high standard of marine safety in Victoria and to continuing to improve where necessary and practical.

 

Marine safety must be efficient and not lead to any unnecessary red tape. We want to cut red tape where possible and allow operators and owners to operate their commercial vessels as they need to. This is a key principle of the legislation. I again commend the former minister and express support for the national scheme, which will come into effect in a few days time. I commend the bill to the house.


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