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Treaties Committee to consider Amendments to the Annex of the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic

THE Joint Standing Committee on Treaties will hold a public hearing today for its inquiry into the Amendments to the Annex of the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic, 1965 (FAL Convention).

The FAL Convention aims to prevent unnecessary delays in maritime traffic, aid cooperation between states and secure uniformity in formalities and procedures. The Annex to the convention contains Standards and Recommended Practices on formalities, documentary requirements and procedures that are to be applied to ships, crews, passengers, baggage, and cargo from arrival through to their departure.

The proposed changes to the Annex focus on topics such as definitions, illicit activities, digitalisation of vessel reporting requirements, identification, treatment of stowaways and public health.

Committee Chair, Josh Wilson MP said, “Australia has been a signatory to the Convention on the Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic since 1986 and over time, has been an active contributor to the work of the International Maritime Organisation. If adopted, these amendments would support Australia to continue to modernise its maritime sector operations and take further steps towards full compliance with the convention.

“The amendments would lead to increased efficiencies for both industry and government and create greater opportunities for adopting new maritime technologies. This includes the standards for the adoption of the Maritime Single Window which is a digital reporting platform which will make the exchange of mandatory information between industry and government easier.”

The committee will hear from officials from the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts; the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 

Public hearing details 

Date:               Monday 27 November 2023Time:              11am (AEDT)Location:        Committee Room 2R1

The hearing can be accessed online and the program is available on the Committee website, along with further information about the inquiry.

 

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Treaties Committee to receive public briefing from Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

THE Joint Standing Committee on Treaties will receive a public briefing today from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

Topics covered during the briefing will potentially include:

  • Australia-EU Free Trade Agreement.
  • Australia-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA).
  • Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF).
  • Any other relevant matters.

This is the second biannual briefing in 2023 on the status of upcoming and current free trade agreement negotiations provided by DFAT which is now part of the Committee’s regular work schedule.  

Public briefing details 

Date:               Monday 27 November 2023Time:               approx. 11:40am (AEDT)Location:         Committee Room 2R1

The public briefing can be accessed online. Further information about the committee can be found on the Committee website.

 

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Public hearing on National Redress Scheme

THE Joint Standing Committee on Implementation of the National Redress Scheme will be holding a public hearing tomorrow for an inquiry into the National Redress Scheme.

Legal practitioners, support services and advocates are among witnesses scheduled to give evidence.

The public hearing will start at 9:30am AEDT (Canberra time). The program is available on the Committee’s website.

The inquiry is looking into a range of areas, including:

  • The experience of First Nations applicants and applicants with disability in their dealings with the Scheme.
  • Accessibility, performance and effectiveness of support services and legal advice for survivors and their advocates.

The committee is continuing to accept written submissions.

Full details of what the inquiry is examining can be found in the terms of reference on the Committee’s website. An easy English guide is also available.

Public hearing details

Thursday 23 November 20239:30am to around 4:45pm AEDT (Canberra time)Committee Room 1R3, Parliament House, CanberraListen online at www.aph.gov.au/News_and_Events/Watch_Parliament

 

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New inquiry on Defence Annual Report 2022–23

THE Defence Subcommittee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade is conducting a new inquiry, focussing on important aspects of the Department of Defence Annual Report 2022–23.

Key themes of the inquiry’s focus include:

  • Assistance to Ukraine.
  • Defence Health System.
  • Capability Assurance Mechanism.
  • Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Weapons related issues.
  • Armaments manufacture, procurement, and inventory.
  • Other issues as communicated to Defence.

Chair of the Subcommittee, Julian Hill MP, said, “The committee has decided to exercise its oversight powers and conduct a public review of the Department of Defence Annual Report 2022–23.

“Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 was the most significant hostile act against a European country since the end of World War Two," Mr Hill said. "The international community of NATO and non-NATO contributors, including Australia, are continuing to aid Ukraine’s efforts in its fight to retain its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

"The subcommittee is interested in examining Australia’s response to this crisis; specifically, the facilitation of military aid focussed on platforms, munitions, and the contribution to Operation Kudu which is the ADF commitment to the training of armed forces of Ukraine recruits in the United Kingdom.

“A comprehensive and well-equipped health care system for our serving personnel remains a critical enabler to ensure the ADF’s warfighting preparedness. Defence is currently undergoing structural change based on the force posture requirements as detailed within the Defence Strategic Review. This is occurring at a time of significant workforce challenges, and it is through this lens that the subcommittee is interested in analysing Defence’s approach to health care, considering the recent report by the Auditor-General and current performance issues. The focus for this line of inquiry will include the general architecture of its uniformed and contracted health related capabilities, supporting both current personnel and the recruitment function, and the interrelationship with external providers.

“It is imperative that Defence can effectively identify and manage the complexities associated with material procurement and sustainment including the acceptance of new capability into service. The subcommittee is interested in reviewing Defence’s approach to capability assurance including ‘test and evaluation’ and how that impacts and informs accountability and risk identification considering case studies to identify potential systemic issues for attention.

“Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Weapons have an ever-increasing role within militaries worldwide. From systems capable of predictive analysis, to platforms that can prosecute targets without human intervention, careful consideration is warranted as Defence continues to evolve its capabilities by integrating emerging technologies. The subcommittee is interested in examining the role of Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Weapons within the ADF and the requisite policy settings that need to account for and address relevant moral, legal, ethical, and regulatory matters within Australia and internationally. This may be informed by a case study to be identified.

“The Defence Strategic Review references the importance that Australia possesses a diverse array of munitions capable of long-range strike across the sea, land, and air domains. The government has announced plans for the rapid procurement of High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HiMARS) and Precision Strike Missiles, as well as the creation of a newly appointed head of Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance.

"The subcommittee is interested in examining the plans and process for the acquisition of specific munitions from coalition partners, the requirements to enable domestic manufacturing and storage, and the comparison of current stock holdings vice what is required during high intensity conflict."

The subcommittee is inviting written submissions by Monday, 5 February 2024.

For more information about this committee, visit its website.

 

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Defence, ANSTO and Airservices inquiries for Public Works Committee

UNDER the Public Works Committee Act 1969, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works will consider three new referrals, one from the Department of Defence, one from Airservices Australia and one from Australia’s Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation.

The projects are: 

It is anticipated that the committee will conduct public and in-camera hearings for the inquiries in 2024. The committee wants to hear from all individuals or organisations interested in the project. The deadline for public submissions is early January 2024, with more information available on the Public Works Committee website.

Committee Chair Graham Perrett MP, said, "Public submissions and the public hearings will allow the committee to review the purpose, need and public value of the proposed works."

Note: The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works is not involved in the tendering process, awarding of contracts or details of the proposed works. Inquiries on these matters should be addressed to the relevant Commonwealth entities.

 

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