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Exemption from the Seafarers Act

What is an exemption?

Section 20A of the Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1992 (Seafarers Act) allows the Seacare Authority to exempt the employment of all employees or a group of employees on a particular ship.

Why would an employer seek an exemption?

An employer may seek an exemption because they do not want the Seafarers Act to apply to their employees. This situation may arise as a result of a one-off voyage of a ship, bringing it into the scope of the Seafarers Act, or as a result of a business decision, where workers’ compensation insurance may be available at a lower cost under a state or territory scheme.

Depending on the scope of the exemption sought and granted, an exemption may mean that an employer does not have to, among other things, hold insurance under the Seafarers Act, report berths and pay levies quarterly and report on employee and ship details to the Seacare Authority.

What does the Seacare Authority consider when assessing an application for an exemption?

To assist it in determining applications for exemption, the Seacare Authority uses Exemption Guidelines. The Seacare Authority's Exemption Guidelines provide a flexible approach to consideration of exemptions.

The factors that the Seacare Authority considers in granting an exemption are:

  • the nature of the operations and the voyage arrangements of the prescribed ship;
  • the size of the prescribed ship or ships;
  • the prescribed ship(s) operating within a territory only; and
  • the availability of workers’ compensation insurance under a state or territory scheme, at a lower cost than available under the Seacare scheme.

No exemption is automatic. The Seacare Authority will consider each application on its merits and will take account of, but not be restricted by, its Exemption Guidelines.

How long can an exemption be granted for?

Exemptions can be granted up to a period of 12 months; a further exemption/s can be sought to cover a period/s following this.

How do I make an application for an exemption?

Where do I get further information?

The application form has guidelines that provide further information.

You may also wish to contact the Seacare helpdesk on 02 6275 0070.

Note: For historical information on exemptions granted by the Seacare Authority, please refer to the annual reports.


Last updated: 01 Mar 2019