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Our functions and powers

AMSA’s functions are set out in sections 6 and 7 of the AMSA Act, as follows:

6 Functions of Authority

  1. The functions of the Authority are:
    1. to combat pollution in the marine environment; and
    2. to provide a search and rescue service; and
    3. to provide, on request, services to the maritime industry on a commercial basis; and
      ca) to provide on request services of a maritime nature, on a commercial basis, to:
      1. the Commonwealth, a State, the Australian Capital Territory or the Northern Territory; or
      2. an authority or agency of the Commonwealth, a State or either of those Territories; and
        cb) to cooperate with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau in relation to investigations under the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 that relate to aircraft and ships; and
    4. to perform such other functions as are conferred on it by or under any other Act; and
    5. to provide consultancy and management services relating to any of the matters referred to in this subsection; and
    6. to perform any other prescribed functions relating to any of the matters referred to in this subsection; and
    7. to perform functions incidental to any of the previously described functions.
  2. The Authority may provide its services both within and outside Australia.
  3. Subject to section 8, the functions to provide services may be performed at the discretion of the Authority.
  4. The Authority must not perform any of its functions otherwise than for a purpose in respect of which the Parliament has the power to make laws.
  5. The provision of a search and rescue service must be in a manner that is consistent with Australia’s obligations under:
    1. the Chicago Convention; and
    2. the Safety Convention; and
    3. the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue 1979 done at Hamburg on 27 April 1979.

7 Functions to be performed in accordance with international agreements

  1. The Authority must perform its functions in a manner consistent with the obligations of Australia under any agreement between Australia and another country.

8 Directions

  1. The Minister may give the Authority written directions as to the performance of its functions.
  2. Directions as to the performance of functions that are conferred on the Authority by or under another Act are to be only of a general nature.

9 Reimbursement of cost of complying with directions

  1. Where the Authority satisfies the Minister that it has suffered financial detriment as a result of complying with a direction given by the Minister under section 8, the Authority is entitled to be reimbursed by the Commonwealth the amount that the Minister determines in writing to be the amount of that financial detriment.
  2. The reference in subsection (1) to suffering financial detriment includes a reference to:
    1. incurring costs that are greater than those that would otherwise have been incurred; and
  3. forgoing revenue that would otherwise have been received.

9A Minister may give Authority notices about its strategic direction etc.

  1. The Minister may, from time to time, by notice in writing to the Authority, advise the Authority of his or her views in relation to the following matters:
  2. the appropriate strategic direction of the Authority;
  3. the manner in which the Authority should perform its functions.
  4. The Authority must, in performing its functions, take account of notices given to it under subsection (1).
  5. The members must, in preparing each corporate plan, take account of notices given to the Authority under subsection (1).

9B Minister may direct Authority to give documents and information to nominee

  1. In this section:
    ministerial nominee means a person whose responsibilities or duties include advising the Minister about the performance and strategies of the Authority.
  2. The Minister may direct the Authority to give to a specified ministerial nominee any documents or information relating to the operations of the Authority that the nominee requests.
  3. The Authority must comply with a direction by the Minister under subsection (2).

9C Extra matters to be included in annual report

  1. The annual report prepared by the members of the Authority and given to the Minister under section 46 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 for a period must include the following:
    1. particulars of any directions given to the Authority under section 8 during the period;
    2. a summary of notices given to the Authority under subsection 9A(1) during the period;
    3. a summary of action taken during the period by the Authority because of notices given to the Authority under subsection 9A(1) in that or any other period;
    4. particulars of any directions given to the Authority under subsection 9B(2) during the period.