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On 11 April 2019 the Australian Government assumed a caretaker role, with an election to be held 18 May 2019.
Information on websites maintained by Comcare will be published in accordance with the Guidance on Caretaker Conventions until after the election and conclusion of the caretaker period.

Decision by the Seacare Authority to grant section 20A exemptions – invitation to make a submission

On 22 December 2014, the Federal Court of Australia unanimously decided in the case of Samson Maritime Pty Ltd v Noel Aucote [2014] FCAFC 182 (Samson v Aucote), that sections 19(2)–(4) of the Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1992 (Seafarers Act) extend the operation of the Seafarers Act.

In March and April 2015, the Seacare Authority issued two exemptions to all employees on ships that were brought under the scheme by virtue of Samson v Aucote. The exemptions do not impact ships that were covered under the Seafarers Act prior to the decision. These exemptions have been reissued in 2016, 2017 and more recently in 2018 where the latter expire on 23 March 2019 and 20 April 2019 respectively.

The Seacare Authority has agreed to grant both exemptions for a further period of 12 months from the expiry of each exemption.

Prior to issuing these exemptions, the Seacare Authority is seeking input from scheme participants on the exemptions – information on how to make a submission is set out below.

Information specific to each exemption, as well as links to each exemption are set out below.

Stakeholders should be aware that:

  • the exemptions do not automatically exempt all ships listed in Schedule 1 of the exemptions from coverage under the Seafarers Act— ships that would have been covered by the Seafarers Act prior to the Federal Court's decision remain covered even if they are on the lists;
  • the exemptions take effect from the date they are signed; and
  • the exemptions do not apply to the Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) Act 1993.

Exemption 1 – vessels on the Australian General Register

The exemption can be found here.

Schedule 1 of this exemption is taken from the Australian General Register on the Australian Maritime Safety Authority website as at 11 February 2019.

Exemption 2 – vessels covered under the Domestic Commercial Vessel legislation

The exemption can be found here.

Schedule 1 of this exemption is the list of ships that are registered in the states and territories under the Domestic Commercial Vessel legislation as at 11 February 2019.

Invitation to make a submission

The Seacare Authority is seeking submissions from the owners/operators/employers of the ships in Schedule 1 of each exemption by 8:00 pm AEST on 12 March 2019. These will be considered prior to granting the exemption.

Any owner/operator/employer that would like their ship(s) to be removed from Schedule 1 and be covered under the Seafarers Act should advise the Seacare Authority via a submission. Alternatively, an owner/operator/employer can also make a submission if they have ship(s) not listed in Schedule 1, but are concerned that they may be brought into the scheme following Samson v Aucote.

Submissions can be sent to seacare@comcare.gov.au or:

Section 20A Exemption
Seacare Authority
GPO Box 9905
Canberra ACT 2601.

If you wish to discuss the exemptions, please contact the Seacare Secretariat via email seacare@comcare.gov.au or phone 02 6275 0070.

Last updated: 01 Mar 2019