Expand links In this section

Ballast water

​​Ballast water is water taken on board by vessels to maintain stability and trim. Ballast water can contain thousands of aquatic microbes, plan​ts and animals, which can be spread across the globe as the vessel releases ballast water. Unmanaged ballast water released in foreign ports could potentially introduce a range of invasive marine species. Invasions have already taken place around the world, in some instances with significant consequences for the local ecosystem.

Domestic ballast water

The Biosecurity Amendment (Ballast Water and Other Measures) Act 2017 (the amendment Act), prescribes how ballast water should be managed within Australian seas. It received Royal Assent on Wednesday, 17 May 2017, and will come into force on 8 September 2017.

The Australian Ballast Water Management Requirements V6 provide national requirements for reducing the risk of spreading marine pests that have already established in Australian seas. Once the Ballast Water Management Convention enters into force for Australia on 8 September 2017, these regulations, under the Biosecurity Act 2015, will be updated and apply nationwide. Until that time, vessel masters must continue to comply with all relevant state and territory requirements.

The State of Victoria has requirements for the management of Australian-sourced domestic ballast water that are enforced by the Victorian State Government Environment Protection Authority (EPA Victoria) under the Environment Protection Act 1970 (Vic.).

Please visit EPA Victoria for ballast water management requirements when entering a Victorian port.

[expand all]

Ballast Water Management Convention

The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments (the Ballast Water Management Convention) was adopted in principle in 2004 to introduce global regulations to control the transfer of potentially invasive species. Once the treaty enters into force internationally on 8 September 2017, ballast water will be required to be managed before it is discharged.

Keep up to date with ballast water requirements

If you would like to be kept informed of further developments in the implementation of nationally consistent ballast water arrangements, please subscribe to regular updates.

Alternatively, for more information please email Marine Pests.

Policy and legislation

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is the lead Australian Government agency responsible for regulating the management of ballast water in Australia.

Ballast water has been regulated by the Australian Government since 2001, and has been regulated under the Biosecurity Act 2015 since 16 June 2016. The Biosecurity Act has a chapter devoted to the management of ballast water and sediments within Australian seas. This chapter provides assessment and management powers to biosecurity officers specific to vessels intending to discharge ballast water.

On 17 May 2017, an amendment to the Act relating to ballast water received Royal Assent. The Biosecurity Amendment (Ballast Water and Other Measures) Act 2017 (amendment Act), strengthens Australia’s ability to manage ballast water in ships, and broadens existing powers to destroy exotic vectors of human disease on vessels and aircraft arriving in Australia. It was also a necessary step in ratifying the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments (Ballast Water Management Convention) on 7 June 2017.

The Ballast Water Management Convention will come into force internationally and in Australia on 8 September 2017. On this day, the amendment Act and Biosecurity (Ballast Water and Sediment) Determination 2017 will also come into effect.

The Australian Ballast Water Management Requirements V6 will be updated and made available before September 8 2017.

Ballast water consultation and engagement

The Biosecurity (Ballast Water and Sediment) Determination 2017 Exposure Draft determines the requirements associated with reporting, management, certification, records and decisions relating to ballast water.

Consultation on this document has now closed.

Download

DocumentPagesFile size
Biosecurity (Ballast Water and Sediment) Determination 2017 exposure draft PDF 24476 KB
Biosecurity (Ballast Water and Sediment) Determination 2017 exposure draft DOC 24358 KB

The document on this page may not be accessible. For assistance contact Marine Pests.

History of consultation and engagement

The Biosecurity Act 2015 (the Act) commenced on 16 June 2016, and was updated by the Biosecurity Amendment (Ballast Water and Other Measures) Act 2017 (the amendment Act), which received Royal Assent on 17 May 2017 and will come into force on 8 September 2017.

The legislation introduced new ballast water management requirements for vessels in line with the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments 2004 (the Ballast Water Management Convention). This includes new national domestic ballast water requirements to reduce the risk of spreading marine pests that establish in Australian seas. It also broadened existing powers to destroy exotic vectors of human diseases of concern on vessels and aircraft arriving in Australia. Changes introduced by the amendment Act will commence when the Ballast Water Management Convention enters into force for Australia on 8 September 2017.

To support the transition to the new requirements under the Act, the department is undertaking stakeholder engagement activities with state and territory government agencies, industry and other relevant Commonwealth agencies to ensure stakeholders are aware of and are prepared for the changes.

Keep up to date with ballast water requirements

If you would like to be kept informed of further developments in the implementation of nationally consistent ballast water arrangements, please subscribe to regular updates.

Alternatively, for more information please email Marine Pests.

Fact sheets

From 8 September 2017, new legislation and requirements apply to ballast water management in Australian waters. The following fact sheets provide guidance for international and domestic vessels travelling within Australian waters.

Download

DocumentPagesFile size
Ballast water management for international vessels PDF 2685 KB
Ballast water management for international vessels DOCX 227 KB
Ballast water management for vessels travelling within Australia PDF 2990 KB
Ballast water management for vessels travelling within Australia DOCX 227 KB
​​