About Us

Ports Australia is the peak body representing the interests of port and marine authorities in Australia.  It has been in existence in one form or another since 1916 when the first interstate harbour conference was held in Melbourne.

Ports Australia changed its name from The Association of Australian Port & Marine Authorities Inc (AAPMA) in October 2007. In February 2009 Ports Australia changed its corporate structure and became a public company limited by guarantee under the Corporations Act 2001.

The mission statement, objectives and set of priority areas which guide the work program of Ports Australia are regularly reviewed to ensure that the Association best meets the needs of all members.

Ports Australia’s mission is to provide leadership and support in areas of common interest related to ports, and to promote achievement of their trade facilitation objectives.

Ports Australia's objectives are:

  • to represent and promote the common interests and views of Australia’s port and marine authorities at a national and international level;

  • to provide advice to, and seek to influence, governments in all matters that affect ports and marine regulations;

  • to promote public awareness, understanding and support for ports’ contribution to national, state and regional development and their key role in transport supply chains;

  • to provide a forum for

    • the development, and exchange of views on strategic issues central to the efficient development, and management of Australia’s ports and maritime facilities; and

    • sharing information and expertise to encourage the development of efficient practices and techniques for the general management of ports, as well as nationally consistent technical policies, practices and regulatory environments;

  • to act proactively in addressing emerging issues and to meet members’ needs in all areas that can impact on their business responsibilities; and

  • to pursue such other objectives as Ports Australia may from time to time determine.


Ports Australia has a Council comprising all full subscription paying members. This Council elects a Board which addresses key governance and strategic policy matters makes recommendations to Council. The Board elects the Chairman.

The current Chairman is Vincent Tremaine (Flinders) and Chris Leatt-Hayter (Fremantle) is the Deputy Chair. The other Board members are Stephen Bradford (Melbourne), Brad Fish (NQBP), Grant Gilfillan (Sydney), Steve Lewis, (Dampier), Paul Weedon (Tasports), Russell Smith (Brisbane), Terry O'Connor (Darwin) and Jim Cooper (Portland). Ports Australia embraces the principle of broad representation of the interests of its members on the Board. The next election for office bearers will be held in October 2014.

The Association has a Secretariat of three, headed by the Chief Executive Officer, David Anderson, who was appointed in January 2007.


All government owned ports, some privatised ports and most state marine regulatory authorities are members of the Association, as is the Department of Defence through the Royal Australian Navy.

Work Undertaken

Ports Australia has developed a work program which embodies key policy areas identified by the members as of primary importance to their strategic interests.
Ports Australia works closely with other peak maritime bodies, industry associations and Federal Government agencies.  It looks at all issues from a national viewpoint.

Ports Australia endeavours to be pro-active in its consideration of issues rather than reactive.  To this end we are actively involved in many forums and committees (both government & industry) which are considering initiatives/issues that affect ports.  As examples, our approach to several environmental matters has enabled us to not only influence agendas, but strengthen our ability to protect our position against unwarranted government impositions - both federally (at a direct level) and internationally from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).  We work closely with Infrastructure Australia, the Australian Logistics Council, National Transport Commission, the Department of Environment and the Department of Infrastructure in order to achieve a greater acceptance of, and support for, a strong focus on the development of port infrastructure, integrated freight transport planning, harmonisation of regulations, and environmental approvals, as well as a better recognition of the role and importance of ports.

Ports Australia works closely with AMSA on all relevant matters affecting Australia’s role in IMO.

In addition the Association works closely with working groups of the International Association of Ports & Harbours (IAPH) and with the International Harbour Masters Association (IHMA) both of which are advisers on port issues to the IMO.  Our linkage to IMO (as well as our relationship with AMSA) allows us to influence the direction of international approaches to port and marine regulatory issues that may ultimately become policy issues in Australia.

In pursuing its objectives Ports Australia effectively utilises the management and technical expertise of its members, particularly through a number of working groups:

  • Port Operations and Technology Group (which includes the Hydrographic/Marine Surveyors sub-groups)
  • Accounting & Finance Group
  • IT Group
  • Engineers Group
  • HR Group
  • OH & S Group
  • Environment & Sustainability Group
  • Port Security Group

All these Groups have a wide representation from the membership.  These Groups exchange information and discuss issues that need to be investigated by the Association and its members and, in many cases, small specialist ad hoc working groups are formed to develop a common view or approach to be taken on particular issues, and to facilitate the adoption of best practice among the members in these areas.

Current major national and international issues being investigated and considered by the Association include:

  • Provision and planning of port infrastructure
  • Impact of regulation on port development and capacity
  • Longer term land transport and modal interface planning
  • Port land and urbanisation
  • Economic impact of ports


  • Corporate governance
  • Identification of tax issues relating to ports
  • Asset management issues
  • Insurance and risk management
  • Information technology requirements
  • Capital structures - borrowing arrangements, capital investment funding
  • Dividend policies
  • Benchmarking of commercial activities
  • Australian competition policy issues


  • National industrial relations issues - monitoring federal and state legislation and their effects on ports; industrial relations matters affecting ports
  • Human resources issues – effects of an ageing workforce, alcohol and drugs in the work place, performance pay, employer of choice


  • Promoting ports environmental credentials
  • Ocean Disposal Guidelines
  • Ballast water and hull fouling issues
  • Greenhouse gas emissions and climate change issues
  • Waste reception facilities in ports
  • Marine Protected Areas
  • International environmental issues especially from IMO member initiatives
  • Sustainability - development of policies, strategies and guiding principles


  • Issues pertaining to new competencies
  • Maritime security
  • New approaches to harbour pilot training
  • National oil spill and chemical response plans
  • International and domestic port operational and regulatory issues & practices
  • Equipment safety issues
  • Places of refuge, salvage and emergency towage issues
  • Ongoing technical issues resulting from Australia’s membership of the International Maritime Organisation; and advice to IAPH, IHMA on these matters
  • Issues pertaining to the RAN and foreign naval vessels
  • Naval access arrangements to ports

Ports Australia also runs seminars, conferences and working groups on a range of specific issues from time to time.  For example, workshops have been held with the maritime community and with relevant agencies on environment policy initiatives and port environmental management plans, on ballast water issues, dredging and dredged spoil issues, and with AMSA on safe havens and salvage issues.

Biennial Conference

Ports Australia holds a biennial conference involving the port stakeholder community to discuss a range of topical issues.  The aim of the conference is to have a series of papers and discussions which in particular address strategic issues of relevance to ports, and to provide an opportunity for substantial networking within the industry.  The Annual General Meeting and election of office bearers is also convened in conjunction with the Conference.  The next Biennial Conference will be held in Perth in 2014.

Value of Membership

Membership of Ports Australia gives access to all information on, and participation in, discussions on a wide range of policy and technical issues of common interest and the ability to influence agendas and contribute to ensuring that members’ interests are protected.  We strongly believe that a co-ordinated and considered approach to common issues in the areas that Ports Australia’s members represent leads to more efficient and acceptable outcomes rather than piecemeal approaches.  Ports Australia is well recognised as an effective and responsible contributor to debates on national issues at the federal level in Australia, and also at the international level through our active participation in IAPH.

October 2013

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