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Reviews and recommendations

A report commissioned by Environment Australia October 1997
Leon P. Zann and Owen Earley Centre for Coastal Management Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW

Commonwealth of Australia


  1. Introduction
  2. Overview of Recommendations Relevant to Oceans Policy
  3. Recommendations Relevant to Oceans Policy Themes
  4. Overview of the Reports Reviewed

Executive summary

There have been around 55 Commonwealth Government inquiries and reports on management of coastal and marine environments, and many others by State and Territory Governments and the private sector. As many of these reports focus on national issues affecting Australia's coastal and marine environment, their findings and recommendations are highly relevant to the development of Australia's Oceans Policy.

To provide a background to the Oceans Policy Forum, this paper briefly reviews the issues and recommendations contained in 34 recent (1989-97) national inquiries and reports on aspects of Australia's coastal and marine environments. As these reports examined thousands of issues and contained over 800 recommendations, only the generic or most relevant recommendations are presented here. The full text of the recommendations and status of commissioned reports and their major recommendations are provided in an electronic form via the ERIN site on the Internet.

The main types of recommendations in the reports reviewed related to: management (266 recommendations); science and research (214); fisheries and aquaculture (185); ecology/biology/biodiversity (163); marine industries (154); and planning (127).

Development of a national oceans policy was specifically recommended in four of the inquiries and its lack was noted as a major issue in the two state of the environment reports. However, the need for a strategic, coordinated approach to planning, the most frequent recommendation in planning and management, relies on an underpinning, national policy.

While few reports explicitly addressed the content of an oceans policy, it is apparent that the recurrent themes contained in the recommendations should be considered in the development of Australia's Oceans Policy:

Glossary of acronyms

AFMA Australian Fisheries Management Authority
AMISC Australian Marine Industries and Sciences Council
AMSA Australian Maritime Safety Authority
ANAO Australian National Audit Office
ANZECC Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council
AQIS Australian Quarantine Inspection Service
ASAC Antarctic Scientific Advisory Committee
ASTEC Australian Science and Technology Council
ATAC Australian Transport Advisory Council
AWRC Australian Water Resources Council
BRS Bureau of Resource Sciences
CAMBA China-Australia Migratory Birds Agreement
CCAMLR Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources
COAG Council of Australian Governments
DEST Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories
DPIE Department of Primary Industries and Energy
EIA environmental impact assessment
EIS environmental impact statement
ERIN Environmental Resources Information Network
EEZ Exclusive Economic Zone
ENSO El Nino/southern oscillation
GBRMPA Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
HORSCERA House of Representatives Standing Committee on the Environment, Recreation and the Arts
HRSCPIRRA House of Representatives Standing Committee on Primary Industries, Resources and Rural and Regional Affairs
IWC International Whaling Commission
JAMBA Japan-Australia Migratory Birds Agreement
MARPOL Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Ships
MPAs Marine Protected Areas
NATPLAN National Plan to Combat Pollution of the Sea by Oil
NEPC National Environment Protection Council
NGOs non-government organisations
OECD Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
PMSEC Prime Minister's Science and Engineering Council
RAC Resource Assessment Commission
SoE Report Australia: State of the Environment 1996
SOMER State of the Marine Environment Report
SPREP South Pacific Regional Environment Program
SSCISTTCI Senate Standing Committee on Industry, Science, Technology, Transport, Communications and Infrastructure
UNCLOS United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
VMS Vessel Monitoring System