Australia’s Communications Minister Malcom Turnbull’s speech before the Australian Parliament on 14 November 2013 acknowledges the smooth partnership enjoyed by the Australian government and the ICPC (International Cable Protection Committee) in promoting sound, practical and effective government policies that are designed to enhance the protection of submarine cables. According to the Minister, the original legislation has been praised by both the ICPC and APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) as a global best practice regulatory example for protection of submarine cables”.

In addition to addressing important national concerns, the proposed amendment to the legislation removes any doubt about compliance with the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS) by making it clear that the penalties for violations of the protection zones do not apply to foreign vessels and/or persons operating in waters beyond the 12 nautical mile limit of Australia’s territorial sea. The amendment also clarifies that all cable ships, regardless of nationality, are permitted to carry out maintenance and repair activities throughout the special protection zones.

Neil Rondorf (ICPC Chairman) commented that Australia continues to be recognized as a bold and welcome leader in the international community that is involved with submarine cable protection. Australia was one of the first nations to fully understand the reality of submarine cables as critical infrastructure upon which the world’s global economic and political order now depends. It was also the first government to join the ICPC and four more governments have since followed their example.

The legislation and speech can be accessed via this link to the Australian Government’s website.

About the ICPC:

The ICPC was formed in 1958 and its primary goal is to promote the safeguarding of international submarine cables against man-made and natural hazards. The organisation provides a forum for the exchange of technical, legal and environmental information about submarine cables and, with 136 members from over 60 nations, is the World’s premier submarine cable organization.

More information about the ICPC is available at www.iscpc.org