Speaking at the official opening day breakfast, Duncan Gay, NSW Minister for Roads and Ports announced changes to NSW Maritime and a strengthen of its focus on safety.
'As part of the announcement of Transport for NSW, we are refocusing the work of NSW Maritime back to its core business of boating safety, service delivery, and infrastructure,' he said. 'I have stressed throughout these changes that we want to help NSW Maritime do a good job focussed on its key functions, so you will still see Maritime ‘with you on the water’.
The Minister said the newly elected NSW Coalition government planned to create a new agency for service delivery called NSW Roads and Maritime Services. Both the RTA and the Maritime Authority will be wound up to create this new agency.
'In the new agency we will have a division still called NSW Maritime,' he continued. 'NSW Maritime will still have responsibility for delivering boating safety program: supporting boating infrastructure and managing maritime property. Their focus will be solely on service delivery. Other functions that can be distracting will be done elsewhere.'
This NSW Liberals and Nationals Government is also committed to a 'one stop shop for car and boat licenses'.
'We want everyone to be able go to one place,' said the Minister.
'I want to make it clear our goal is to preserve the hard working effective parts of NSW Maritime.These parts include the funding arrangements where registration and license fees go into a waterways fund to provide services to the industry. Funds do not go to Treasury.'
The Minister also explained that the NSW government would retain the brand: NSW Maritime. 'We will preserve the strong safety brand of the name NSW Maritime and want to enhance the working relationship with industry. But we still need to be able to take advantage of the efficiencies larger agencies can bring so we can deliver transport reforms for all of NSW.'
The Minister announced that 'Transport for NSW' will be the driving force for transport reforms. 'It will host the policy, strategy, and regulatory components and guide our investment decisions. Transport for NSW will be accountable for delivering reforms to the people of NSW.
'Within Transport for NSW we will create an Office of Boating Safety, bringing together expertise in safety and policy to work with and learn from other experts as well as with peak industry groups.'
After just four months in the role, the Minister said his focus would be 'developing a policy agenda for Maritime'. 'Over the next few months it’s important we identify your priorities so we can commit to reforms during this term of Government. Under our fisheries policy this Government is stopping the endless march of marine park closures along the coast.
'What we need to know is whether there are equally burning issues that need resolving for boating safety and infrastructure. I know from talking with the boating industry that access to our waterways is critical so we need a continuing conversation about that issue.
'I also understand that planning can be a barrier to maritime development and that the regional environmental plans aren’t always working for marina and slipway owners, and people with jetties. So we need to know what we can do to make it better for industry.
'I appreciate that people who buy a boat need somewhere to store it and launch it and once you’re on the water somewhere to get ashore. I also understand we mustn’t over regulate or we take the fun out of boating.'