DEPUTY Prime Minister and infrastructure minister Michael McCormack has used a presentation to highlight a reduction in ship groundings in the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait.
Mr McCormack, a former journalist and self-confessed land-lubber, addressed lighthouse keepers and their ilk at NAV18, a symposium on the Gold Coast organised by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
The minister talked of technological advances such as the Coastal Vessel Tracking Service with real time monitoring and surveillance data.
“As a result of these efforts, the number of maritime incidents in the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait has reduced and our ability to respond to maritime casualties has dramatically improved,” Mr McCormack said.
“In 1996 Australia had an average of 2.5 groundings per year. Since 2004, the incidents of groundings in the Reef has been reduced to one every three years,” he said.
“Like the road toll you would want to see that number at zero, and we can obviously continue to work towards that.”
Mr McCormack talked of how the future would be driven by digital technology and took a particular interest in high-tech gizmos on display at the stalls outside the symposium.
Mr McCormack took over the role of both Deputy PM and infrastructure minister earlier in the year following the resignation of Barnaby Joyce.