Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 1983

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

I'd like to start by thanking all the member in the House who have made a contribution to this debate this afternoon. 

From 1 January 2020 ships worldwide must use fuel that does not exceed 0.50 per cent sulphur by weight. This global sulphur standard has been adopted by the International Maritime Organization and is prescribed in the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, also referred to as MARPOL, to which Australia is a signatory. This is a substantial reduction from the current 3.5 per cent limit of sulphur emissions for shipping globally and will have major environmental and health benefits. Sulphur dioxides are one of the major contributors to respiratory illnesses and increased rates of lung cancer. They also result in acid rain, which damages crops, livestock and infrastructure and contributes to ocean acidification.

The growth prospects for maritime global trade continue to be strong, so sulphur dioxide pollution from ships will continue to increase if no action is taken to restrict these emissions. The cumulative impacts of air pollution even away from the coast and ships add up and have economic costs. The Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 1983 already legislates for new sulphur limits in 2020. However, further provisions are required to ensure consistency with global implementation of that sulphur cap. The Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Amendment (Air Pollution) Bill 2019 amends the act to ensure that Australia has appropriate legislation arrangements in place to implement a new global sulphur standard on ship fuel from the year 2020.

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