House debates

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Bills

Special Recreational Vessels Bill 2019; Second Reading

9:33 am

Photo of Michael McCormackMichael McCormack (Riverina, National Party, Leader of the Nationals) Share this | Hansard source

Our neighbours in the Pacific, including New Zealand, have welcomed them, and that is business lost to Australia.

The bill should make coming to Australia more attractive for these vessels and bring the associated economic benefits. This is a first step in growing opportunities for more Australian businesses from visits by these vessels.

The provisions of the bill

Currently special recreational vessels cannot apply for a temporary licence under the Coastal Trading (Revitalising Australian Shipping) Act 2012.

Recreational vessels are not covered by the act. This prevents them from offering charters.

Temporary licences under the coastal trading act require a minimum of five voyages and a voyage is defined from a port to a different port. This does not support the special recreational vessel operating model—often a single voyage to take advantage of an opportunity to offer the vessel for charter, and likely to be to and from the same port.

This bill establishes a means by which special recreational vessels can opt into the coastal trading regulatory scheme established by the coastal trading act.

The owner, charterer, master or agent of a vessel will be able to apply for and obtain a special recreational vessel temporary licence for 12 months by providing information on the number of voyages, dates, loading and unloading port, the number of passengers and other information about the vessel.

An application fee will apply, but once a licence is granted the vessel can be offered for hire or charter.

Conclusion

The Australian government is committed to seizing hold of the economic potential of visits from these vessels for Australia, in particular for the regions.

I have spoken to people in the industry. They tell me the opportunities are great. But they need certainty that they can come to Australia and offer charters. This bill will give them that certainty. With that, I commend the bill to the House.

Debate adjourned.

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