Standards, compliance and planning

Ballast water FAQs

FAQs about ballast water + Expand all Collapse all

  • What is domestic ballast water?

    Domestic ballast water is ballast water that originates from an Australian port or Australia’s territorial waters. The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) only manages the risks from international ballast water. Prior to the ballast water WMP there was no management requirement for domestic ballast water in Victoria.

  • What is high-risk domestic ballast water?

    High-risk domestic ballast water means domestic ballast water that, if discharged, is considered to pose a high risk of introducing a marine pest to the receiving waters.

  • How do these arrangements affect AQIS requirements?

    These domestic ballast water arrangements must be undertaken in addition to any AQIS requirements. Ships on an international voyage will have to comply with both EPA requirements and AQIS’ international ballast water requirements.

    EPA has worked with the shipping industry to ensure that the forms used for the management of domestic ballast water in Victoria are consistent with the forms used by AQIS. The arrangements have been extensively and successfully trialed and found to complement the Commonwealth measures cost-effectively.

    Victoria will adopt the national system once it is completed, provided it meets agreed standards.

  • How does a ship determine whether domestic ballast water is highrisk?

    The assessment can be made by the ship’s master or agent prior to entering Victorian state waters by accessing the Commonwealth Government’s risk assessment tool. See section 3 of the ballast water PEM for details.

    The risk assessment tool is a software application developed in consultation with industry. It carries out a biological risk assessment to work out the likelihood of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens taken up into ballast tanks via ballast water. This is done for each tank on the ship. The assessment relies on ballast uptake and discharge information entered by the ship’s master or agent.

    The risk assessment tool assesses the domestic ballast water as either ‘low-risk’ or ‘high-risk’. If the risk assessment tool is not used, ballast water is regarded as high-risk. Such water must not be discharged to Victorian state waters.

  • What are the costs for ships to comply?

    Costs fall into two categories: costs to manage ballast water and administrative costs.

    Costs to manage ballast water

    Most ships will face costs associated with the use of ballast pumps, although these are usually quite small. A very small number of ships may have additional costs associated with an extension of their voyage. During a trial of domestic ballast water arrangements in the Port of Hastings no ships employed additional staff to manage ballast water.

    Administrative costs

    Since the introduction of the ballast water regulations, every ship that has the capacity to carry marine ballast water visiting a Victorian port is charged a fee. This is to recover the costs of administering EPA’s ballast water management framework. Fees are applied on a visit-by-visit basis, except for accredited ships.

    The new Regulations, which took effect on 26 May 2017, include a reduction in the fees amounts payable per ship visit. This has been achieved through improvements and efficiencies in program delivery over recent years. The fee to enter into an annual fee agreement will continue to be 200 fee units.

    Fee schedule Fee units per ship per visit to a Victorian port Value of fee amount
    from 26 May 2017
    (1 fee unit = $13.94)
    Value of fee amount in July 2017
    (1 fee unit = $14.22)
    Ship with accreditation 6 $83.70 $85.40
    Ship with annual
    accreditation agreement
    200/year $2788 per year $2844 per year
    All other ships 10 $139.40 $142.20

    Note that fees are set as numbers of fee units under the Monetary Units Act 2004. The value of a fee unit is subject to the annual consumer price index (CPI) adjustments, which are advertised in the Victorian Government Gazette each year prior to 1 June.

  • What is a waste management policy (WMP)?

    A waste management policy is subordinate legislation made under the Environment Protection Act 1970 that expresses in law the Victorian community’s expectations for the handling and management of waste. The Waste management policy (ships’ ballast water) provides a framework in which a flexible set of tools have been developed for the shipping industry to achieve desired domestic ballast water management outcomes. In Victoria, high risk ballast water is defined as an industrial waste.

  • Where can I find more information?

    EPA also produces a ballast water user guide on CD to assist the shipping industry in meeting their obligations. For a copy of this CD, please contact the EPA

    Alternatively you can call the ballast water hotline: 

    Telephone: +613 9695 2547 (24 hours)
    Facsimile: + 613 9695 2520

Page last updated on 25 May 2017