33rd Assembly, 1 December 2023
President, Secretary-General, honourable delegates.
It is my pleasure to present Australia’s candidature for Category B of the IMO Council for the 2024 -25 biennium.
Australia is a dedicated member of the international maritime community, and takes great pride in its contribution to the work of the IMO.
Australia is an island country and Continent and the world’s largest island state. Australia borders the Indian, Pacific, and Southern Oceans.
Australia has a Search and Rescue region that covers one-tenth of the Earth’s surface, and includes enormous maritime regions of exceptionally high ecological value.
Australia is home to the world’s largest bulk commodities port.
85% of Australia’s population live by the sea.
Australia is a member of both the Tokyo and Indian Ocean MOUs on Port State Control, and serves as the Secretariat to the Asia-Pacific Heads of Maritime Safety Agencies Forum.
All nations benefit from a well-regulated maritime environment, with shipping that is safe, green, and reliable.
To help us all collectively achieve this, Australia delivers a large technical cooperation program. We provide training and expert assistance on Port State Control, Search and Rescue, safe carriage of cargoes, pollution response, and implementation of IMO instruments.
Australia is also a leading contributor to the IMO’s own Technical Cooperation Program. We have made substantial donations to fund programs in particular to assist Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries.
Australia has a focus on reducing marine plastic litter. Seafarer welfare is a top Australian priority. Australia is also a strong advocate for gender equity and has championed initiatives to make the maritime community safer and more inclusive.
It has been Australia’s privilege to help bring much needed geographic representation to our region as a member of the IMO Council – noting only 2 of 21 candidates in Category A and B come from the Southern Hemisphere.
Australia actively works and consults with non-Council members to ensure those voices are represented in Council discussions. Australia has always made a special effort with Small Island Developing States, which Australia sees as a key obligation for all Council members.
Australia believes in investing in the future of the maritime industry and the future of the IMO. That’s why Australia has funded students from the Indo-Pacific to study at the World Maritime University and the International Maritime Law Institute.
Australia is proud of its achievements to date and has much more to contribute.
Australia is committed to work with every Member State to ensure IMO Council decisions are fair, balanced and sustainable. In the next biennium, Australia will continue to champion organisational reform to ensure IMO decisions are transparent and inclusive for all members.
This biennium, Australia gladly contributed A$281,000 to the IMO's Integrated Technical Cooperation Program. A$226,000 was specifically earmarked for the establishment of the new IMO Regional Presence Office for the Pacific.
Over the next biennium, Australia will continue its significant efforts to enhance international standards and guidance to improve the safety, security and environmental protection of international shipping.
Australia advocates best practice standards for international shipping, so that all countries can reap the benefits of a safe, vibrant and efficient shipping industry, while maintaining the integrity of our shared environmental resources.
Australia has a vision to strengthen and modernise the IMO, and to ensure the interests of all member states are fairly represented. We are proud to have led and contributed to many of the reforms achieve by the IMO, in particular the recent amendments to the IMO Convention to increase representation on Council and increase the authentic languages of the Convention.
We have deposited these amendments and hope they will enter into force and allow for greater participation in Council from a wider range of IMO members. The IMO makes the best decisions and the strongest standards when all member states’ voices are heard.
Australia welcomes your support so that we may continue to serve and work with you to further improve the performance of this vital organisation.