AGS's Helen Chisholm and Ros Kenway recently worked with the Shipping Reform team in the Department of Infrastructure and Transport on a package of bills that, amongst other things, will see the repeal of the Navigation Act 1912 and the Lighthouses Act 1911 and the introduction of a modern Navigation Act 2012.

On 1 July, stand-alone legislation, the Coastal Trading (Revitalising Australian Shipping) Act 2012 reformed arrangements for licensing of the coasting trade and, through amendments to the Shipping Registration Act 1981, an Australian International Shipping Register was introduced, intending to provide the opportunity for a competitive Australian shipping industry to operate internationally.

The package also included a Bill for a Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law Act 2012, which will be a model for a national uniform legislative scheme to regulate safety and the operations of domestic vessels that operate commercially on our coast and waterways and, to complete the package, tax incentives were designed to encourage investment in the industry.

When introducing this part of the package of bills to Parliament on 24 May 2012, Minister Anthony Albanese said the National Law would, implement 'historic reforms to the way Australia regulates all commercial vessels within our waters, replacing the 7 existing Federal, State and Territory bureaucracies and the 50 pieces of legislation they administer with one national regulator and one set of nationwide laws.'

The Surface Transport Policy Division of the Department noted the contributions of Ros and Helen:

'Ros [Kenway] has brought significant experience and strong legal skills to the work on the Navigation Act and the National Maritime Law. We were honoured to have someone as senior as Ros work with us over the last year or so and she has made a major contribution to the maritime reforms. Helen Chisholm has worked on the shipping reform legislative package and has provided valuable advice in this role. Helen has patiently advised us on a range of complex issues across many areas of the law to assist with the delivery of this important Government priority. It was delightful to have Ros and Helen as part of our team and [we] thank them for their hard work.'

This is an extract from the 2010–11 AGS annual report