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A report commissioned by Environment Australia October 1997
Science Communication Services
Commonwealth of Australia
ISBN 0 642 54518 9
The Minister for the Environment, Senator the Honourable Robert Hill, announced in August 1996 the Government's intention to develop a comprehensive and integrated Oceans Policy for Australia. The aim is to ensure that the nation meets the challenge of managing effectively its marine jurisdiction covering more than 15 million square kilometres.
The Oceans Policy will provide a strategic framework for the planning, management and ecologically sustainable development of Australia's ocean industries including fisheries, shipping, petroleum, gas and seabed resources. It will also enable the integration of other ocean-related uses and services such as defence and climate and weather prediction.
The Policy will complement existing and planned programs and policies including the Commonwealth Coastal Policy, the National Strategy on Ecologically Sustainable Development, the National Biodiversity Strategy and the Marine Science and Technology Plan.
A consultative process is being followed in the development of the Oceans Policy. Given their key role and responsibilities in the management of coastal waters, the State and Territory Governments have been involved from the earliest stages. A Consultation Paper designed to stimulate discussion and generate ideas was issued in March 1997, and consultations have been held with, or submissions sought from, peak industry, business, conservation and other organisations covering a wide cross-section of ocean interest and user groups. Submissions and comments on the Consultation Paper are also being sought from the wider community.
In addition, reports have been commissioned from specialists in a range of areas to help with development of the Policy.
The draft Oceans Policy will be released in February 1998, and the final Policy, following further consultation, about the middle of the year.
Three reports were commissioned during 1997 on topics related to management of Australia's marine jurisdiction as part of the Oceans Policy development process. This paper outlines key issues covered in the reports and the consultants' main findings.
The topics of the reports summarised in this paper are:
Multiple use management is widely recognised as the most satisfactory approach to achieving an ecologically sustainable balance where many competing activities take place, as is the case in Australia's marine environment. The report on this topic was prepared by Keith Sainsbury and Trevor Ward of CSIRO Marine Research; Marcus Haward of the Department of Government, University of Tasmania; Lorne Kriwoken of the Centre for Environmental Studies, University of Tasmania; and Martin Tsamenyi of the Centre for Natural Resources Law and Policy, University of Wollongong. David Pitts of the consultancy Environment Science and Services prepared the report on best practice mechanisms. This examines best practice planning models relevant to the marine environment and assesses their applicability to a national planning framework for the use of Australia's ocean resources and conservation of the marine environment.
The report on management instruments considers the potential roles of a wide range of tools including financial and economic instruments, legal and regulatory instruments, education, co-management, voluntary approaches, community-based mechanisms and researching the management of marine resources and uses. Its authors are R. Greiner and M.D. Young of CSIRO Wildlife and Ecology, A.D. McDonald of CSIRO Marine Research and M. Brooks of the University of Tasmania.