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Infrastructure and Transport – MAST Boat Safety

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Tags: Community Safety

Ms O'CONNOR - Thank you, Ms Morris, for coming in to talk to the committee. The 2019 report of Coroner Simon Cooper on the inquest into the deaths of Luke William Davies, Aleksander Drobjnak, Magnus Julian Ritter and Anthony James Bernard Roche noted that MAST was at the time investigating the introduction of a requirement for hull identification numbers for boats. Has this investigation concluded and, if so, what was the result?

Ms MORRIS - Yes, we have investigated the hull identification number for vessels and we are working with all other jurisdictions to implement that. It is going to take a bit of time, because it's pointless introducing a hull identification number if all jurisdictions aren't part of it. The idea of that is you can trace the vessel, a bit like the identification number on vehicles. We are working with all of the other jurisdictions and the Boating Industry Association to address that.

Ms O'CONNOR - Given that I only have two questions maybe in the answer to the next question you could tell us a bit about the time line on that work. The coroner's report noted that MAST has investigated mandating a seaworthy certificate for new vehicle registration and the transfer of existing registrations. Can you outline when this investigation occurred and what the results were? Is this something still being considered by MAST?

Ms MORRIS - We have done a lot of work in that area. Although the coroner's report didn't make any reference to legislative change we have been concerned with the number of second-hand vessels for sale on the likes of Gumtree. We have done some work in relation to seaworthy certification, which is very difficult seeing there is not an Australian Standard to vet against. In the absence of an Australian Standard to vet against that a marine surveyor could come in and say this complies or this doesn't, we have done some work that is currently with OPC at the moment in terms of amending our marine safety motor boats and licences by-laws to introduce a concept of 'unsafe vessel'. That's in its preliminary stages but it will give us some advantages in terms of registering new vessels or revoking registration where required. It will also give us some powers, hopefully, to direct a vessel from the water if we believe it looks unsafe.

Ms O'CONNOR - That's really good news, Ms Morris. What's the time frame on that?

Ms MORRIS - It's with OPC at the moment, so we're at the behest of OPC.

Ms O'CONNOR - Thank you.