Independent Review of Domestic Commercial Vessel Safety Legislation and Costs and Charging Arrangements

There have been a number of recent inquiries by Senate Committees and the Productivity Commission into aspects of maritime safety regulation. In its response to the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport (RRAT) Committee’s Inquiry into the Performance of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, the Australian Government supported all the Committees recommendations. The Government committed to pursue a suite of improvements to the National System for Domestic Commercial Vessel Safety (national system) and the Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law Act 2012 (National Law), including establishing an independent review. The Government has also previously committed to reviewing national system costs and charges.

The Review

The Australian Government has commissioned a comprehensive review of the National Law and associated legislative framework, which commenced in January 2022. The review is also considering costs and charging arrangements for the national system.

The review will be conducted in two phases, with the first focusing on the National Law framework (Phase 1) and the second to consider national system delivery costs and future funding options (Phase 2). A Phase 1 Draft Interim Safety Report was released on 08 August 2022.

The review will also provide opportunities to progress actions recommended from related inquiries, such as exploring a role for the Australian Transport Safety Bureau within domestic maritime sectors.

The review is being conducted by a panel with a mix of safety, regulatory, financial and industry expertise. It is supported by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts.

Learn more

View the Terms of Reference for the Independent Review

Meet the Reviewers

Lead Reviewer Mr Michael Carmody has stepped down from the Panel for personal reasons. We would all like to thank Mr Carmody for his significant contribution to Phase 1 of the Review.


(Phase 1 Only) Mr Michael Carmody AO

Lead Reviewer

Mr Michael Carmody AO has held several senior roles in Government including as Commissioner of Taxation, CEO of the Australian Customs Service and Inspector of Transport Security.

During his time as Commissioner, he was highly regarded internationally for what was viewed as an innovative approach to tax administration. During his almost 13-year career as Federal Commissioner of Taxation, Mr Carmody oversaw the modernisation of the Australian Taxation Office, the implementation of a number of significant reforms to the Australian taxation system, and the design and implementation of a new compliance management program.

Mr Carmody will be able to apply his skills and experience to provide expert, impartial advice to Government on the effectiveness of the maritime safety regulation and how to improve it, and an informed perspective on associated delivery costs and charging options.


Ms Carolyn Walsh

Ms Carolyn Walsh is the Chair of the National Transport Commission and has extensive public service experience, including in the NSW Government as Chief Executive of the Independent Transport Safety and Reliability Regulator, and as Executive Director for the Office of the Coordinator General of Rail. She has also held several positions within the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science and Resources.

Her experience as a Commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and Board Member of NSW WorkCover will be directly relevant to considerations of the broader legislative and operational contexts for domestic commercial vessel safety.

Ms Walsh's particular expertise in safety and risk more broadly will provide outstanding support to the Review’s focus on improving commercial vessel safety outcomes, and will help ensure the Review's consideration of costs and charges also maintains due focus on safety policy objectives.


Mr John Harrison

Mr John Harrison has extensive experience working in Australian marine businesses and advising Government on matters impacting Australia's domestic commercial vessel industries, particularly in fishing sectors.

Mr Harrison has held a number of senior roles including as Chief Executive of Western Australian Fishing Industry Council and as a member of the Western Australian Marine Science Institution Board. He was also a member of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority's former fishing industry advisory committee. He is currently Executive Chair of the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation's Seafood Industry Safety Initiative program.

Mr Harrison's lived experience in the fishing industry and passion for improving industry safety will bring a real-world perspective to consultation and consideration of laws and cost options.