Waters surrounding Australia's coastlines are protected from wastes and pollution dumped at sea by the Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Act 1981 (the Sea Dumping Act). The Sea Dumping Act regulates the loading and dumping of waste at sea. The Act fulfils Australia's international obligations under the London Protocol to prevent marine pollution by dumping of wastes and other matter. More about the Sea dumping Act
Permits are required from the Department for all ocean disposal activities, which include:
- dredging operations
- the creation of artificial reefs
- dumping of vessels, platforms or other man-made structures
- burials at sea
The Department aims to ensure compliance with the conditions of permitted activities through:
- analysis of information reported as a condition of permits and approvals
- patrols and investigations
- Department-wide compliance and enforcement policy
The Department regularly develops new policies and updates existing policies associated with sea dumping. These policies are developed in consultation with industry and other affected stakeholders, Australian Government and State-Territory government departments, and other signatories to the London Protocol.
Australia is party to the 1996 Protocol to the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter 1972, now known as the London Protocol . The London Protocol limits the types of materials that may be considered for ocean disposal.
The aims of the London Protocol are to protect and preserve the marine environment from all sources of pollution and to prevent, reduce and eliminate pollution by controlling the dumping of wastes and other materials at sea.
As of early 2008, there are 33 parties to the London Protocol. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) hosts the permanent Secretariat of the Protocol.
In Australia, the London Protocol is administered by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities through the Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Act 1981 (the Sea Dumping Act).