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Auditor General

Maritime safety record beats most

AN audit of marine safety and sea search and rescue by Western Australian Auditor General Des Pearson has found that WA has a better marine safety record than the majority of other Australian States.

However, the audit also identified a number of flaws in the system that will need to be promptly addressed.

These findings are contained within Mr Pearson’s first Public Sector Performance Report for the year that also covered audits of the regulation of the taxi and small charter vehicle industries; and Internet security at Government agencies.

While commending advances made in enhancing marine safety he raised a number of concerns including:

•Parts of WA’s marine safety regulations are outdated;

• There has been a 21 per cent reduction in on-water safety inspections of commercial vessels since 2000-01;

• While nearly $1 million has been spent on marine safety education in the past two years, no benchmarks have been set or attempts made to measure their effectiveness;

• Many serious marine accidents were not reported; and

• 40,000 hours is needed to train sea search and rescue volunteers to meet desired skill levels.

The overall situation regarding the taxi industry was found to be similar with Mr Pearson noting that most aspects of the taxi industry were being adequately administered with considerable progress made over the past few years.

However, he also identified some issues that the Department of Planning and Infrastructure has committed to addressing including:

• Planning, monitoring and assessment of driver and vehicle standards compliance needs improvement – particularly in country areas;

• The DpI does not enforce the requirement for taxi operators to work a minimum number of hours during peak periods; and

• Monitoring of the Small Charter Vehicle industry is minimal compared to the taxi industry because of fewer regulatory requirements.

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