Department of the Environment

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Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

The Commonwealth Coastal Policy

Commonwealth of Australia, May 1995

Annexe A: Commonwealth programs relevant to the coastal zone: a summary

Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander interests

Program Lead agency Aims Comments
Aboriginal Employment Development Policy Program ATSIC To enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities or groups to undertake community development activities; to provide community development activities; to provide training to enable more efficient performance of existing duties and achieve more effective self-management; to promote self employment opportunities  
Land ownership and management ATSIC To establish for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people secure title to land, a significant degree of control over management of that land, and the capacity to benefit from resources on that land  
Aboriginal heritage protection ATSIC/DCA To return ownership of significant cultural property to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people; to ensure that indigenous people are involved in the administration and management of programs to protect and conserve their cultural property; to ensure effective protection of indigenous sites and objects of significance  
Indigenous Cultural Heritage Protection Program DCA Heritage Protection Section (06) 279 1000 To foster better protection, management and use of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander places Non-grant
Return of Cultural Property Program DCA Heritage Protection Section (06) 279 1000 To facilitate the return of significant Aboriginal material, in particular skeletal remains, and secret/sacred objects to their rightful indigenous owners  
Contract Employment Program for Aboriginals in Natural and Cultural Resource Management ANCA Ms Kim Orchard (06) 250 0326 To increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander involvement in natural and cultural resource management and develop Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment strategies with State and Territory nature conservation agencies and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations Grant Operational Commonwealth, State, Territory and Local Government agencies, non-government organisations that are incorporated


Program Lead agency Aims Comments
Historic Shipwrecks Program DCA Heritage Protection Section (06) 279 1000 Provides funding to State and Territory authorities, including Norfolk Island and the Australian Institute of Maritime Archaeology, to locate, identify and conserve historic shipwrecks and associated relics  
Management Plan for Heard Island DEST To preserve and manage the external and McDonald Islands territory so as to protect its environment and indigenous wildlife  
Ocean Rescue 2000 DEST John Gillies (06) 274 1432 To provide a national vision, national objectives and programs for marine conservation in Australia  
National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas DEST John Gillies (06) 274 1432 To develop a national representative system of marine protected areas  
National Marine Conservation Strategy DEST John Gillies (06) 274 1432 To develop a long-term conservation strategy for the marine environment  
Torres Strait Islands Project DEST To help the Torres Strait Islander Community develop a local marine conservation strategy  
Wessel Islands Project DEST To help the Wessel Island Aboriginal Community develop a local marine conservation strategy  
Torres Strait Marine Conservation Planning Framework DEST, QDEH, ICC Kym Seebohm (06) 274 1470 To develop a marine conservation planning framework for Torres Strait  
National Estates Grants Program AHC Anne Robertson 271 2151 To provide assistance to the States and Territories, and organisations within them, to identify, conserve and present the National Estate Grant Ongoing
National Reserve System Co-operative Program ANCA To develop a national system of protected areas that is comprehensive, adequate and representative and that is managed consistently to international standards Non-grant Operational
Endangered Species Program ANCA To prevent the extinction due to human causes of endangered native species and ecological communities, including marine animals such as whales and turtles Non-grant Operational
Marine Wildlife Conservation ANCA Ms Astrida Mednis (06) 250 0273 To administer and enforce wildlife protection legislation in Commonwealth waters Non-grant Operational
Migratory Species Program ANCA To conserve migratory species that spend time in Australia or in Australian waters and thereby fulfil Australia's international obligations pertaining to the conservation of migratory species Non-grant Operational
National Wetlands Conservation and Management Program ANCA Mr Bill Phillips To promote the conservation and wise use of wetlands in accordance with Australia's obligations under the Ramsar Convention Non-grant Operational
One Billion Trees ANCA/Greening Mr Chris Mobbs (06) 250 0337 To help the community plant one billion Australia trees by the year 2000 Grant Operational Community groups via Greening Australia
Save the Bush ANCA Mr Chris Mobbs (06) 250 0337 To encourage, facilitate and support programs and activities associated with the protection, management and investigation of remnant native vegetation that directly or indirectly assist with the maintenance of biological diversity in Australia Grant Operational Communities, State Agencies and researchers
States Co-operative Assistance Program ANCA Ms Gillian Lee (06) 250 0306 Cooperative conservation projects of national or international significance related to wildlife, national parks and reserves in the States and Territories Non-grant Operational


Program Lead agency Aims Comments
Recreational Fishing Policy DPIE Murray Johns (06) 272 4813 To ensure quality fishing and maintain and enhance fish stocks and their habitats No Commonwealth funding
Fisheries Management within the Australian Fishing Zone AFMA Bruce Phillips Chief Scientist (06) 272 5184 To manage Australia's fisheries for sustainability and economic efficiency  
Research and Development Program in Aquaculture FRDC Peter Dundas (06) 285 4485 To enable the Australian mariculture industry to realise its full potential Non-grant Individuals and institutions involved in research are eligible
MARINET: networking program DIST The Director, Marine Industries (06) 276 1199 An initiative under the Marine Industries Development Program designed to facilitate and support information exchange and collaboration between marine industries, marine science, research and education institutions Non-grant
National aquaculture research programs OCS Co-operative Research Centre for Aquaculture To provide a focus for a national research strategy for aquaculture and the ecological basis for a sustainable industry that is internationally competitive and environmentally acceptable  
National Fisheries Adjustment Program AFMA Richard Stevens (06) 272 5785 Provides seed money for fisheries adjustment programs in Commonwealth fisheries Grant or loan Government/industry funding Only Commonwealth fisheries are eligible

Greenhouse issues

Program Lead agency Aims Comments
Application of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 'vulnerability to accelerated sea-level rise assessment methodology' to case studies DEST Mark Flanigan (06) 274 1836 To assess vulnerability of coastal areas; to review methodology and techniques  
Evaluation of the impacts of climate change and sea-level change on coastal environment conditions DEST Mark Flanigan (06) 274 1836 To use and build upon existing knowledge of coastal environmental phenomena in order to develop a broad-based integrated appreciation of greenhouse-induced environmental change  
A sub-network of high-precision sea-level monitoring stations to be established at appropriate sites around the country to serve as baseline stations for the existing tide gauge network DEST NGAC Secretariat Tim Barrett (06) 274 1975 To gain understanding of the total ocean atmosphere environment  
Measuring thermal structure and sea level for climate studies DEST To obtain decade-long series of ocean data around Australia that record changes in sea level and thermal structure and that can be used to verify models  

Local government

Program Lead agency Aims Comments
CouncilNet DEST Maria Simonelli (06) 274 1906 To enhance communications and provide access to environmental information through an electronic network specifically for Local Government officers and professions  
Environmental Resource Officers DEST Frankie Seymou (06) 274 1017r To provide information, contacts and answers to environmentally related queries to assist Local Government officers, departments and associated professions  
Local Government Development Program DHRD To assist councils to respond to the national priorities of micro-economic reform, urban reform, regional economic development, environmental management and social justice Strategic funding to: individual councils. local government associations, State & Territory Governments, industry and other organisations, with outcomes reflecting the national priorities

Monitoring and evaluation

Program Lead agency Aims Comments
State of the marine environment report GBRMPA To provide information about conservation and management of the marine environment Report published March 1995. Subsequent reporting to be part of the State of the Environment Reporting process
Marine weather services Bureau of Meteorology To provide information on, and warning of, weather conditions that could endanger life and property in the coastal zone  
Assessment and management of contaminated sites EPA, ANZECC, NHMRC, NOHSC To reduce or eliminate impacts of contaminated sites on health and the environment  
National Pollutant Inventory EPA, ANZECC To decrease pollution by increasing awareness of its extent  
National Water Quality Guidelines (part of the National Water Quality Strategy) EPA–ANZECC, DPIE–AWRC To identify environmental values, criteria and guidelines for: domestic water supplies, ecosystem protection (inland and marine), waters for recreation and aesthetics, agricultural water supplies, industrial water supplies  
Environmental impact assessment EPA John Ashe Environment Assessment Branch (06) 274 1444 To ensure protection of the coastal environment through the assessment of the environmental impacts of proposals Non-grant
State of the environment reporting DEST (06) 274 1440 To identify issues and trends in the condition of the Australian environment  
Port State Control Program Transport–AMSA To randomly inspect vessels visiting Australian ports. At least 25 per cent of foreign ships not inspected in Australia in the past six months are inspected. Currently 40 per cent of vessels are inspected. A target of 50 per cent by the year 2000 has been set for our region  
ANZECC Maritime Accidents and Pollution Initiative EPA Dr Angela Ivanovici (06) 274 1602 In order to protect the marine environment, review current arrangements in relation to shipping and the environment and address the issues likely to have most impact on the marine environment. Issues include identification of sensitive areas and values, ballast water, waste minimisation and pollution prevention in ports, increase in scale and targeting of research, improve anti-fouling methods, enhancement of industry and IMO actions, and elimination of marine debris Non-grant Draft action plan prepared in consultation with all SCEP members, released for public comment in March 1995

Platform and mineral resources

Program Lead agency Aims Comments
Offshore minerals exploration and development DPIE To facilitate the assessment and development of offshore mineral resources  
Offshore petroleum exploration and development DPIE To facilitate management and development of offshore petroleum resources  

Public participation and community awareness

Program Lead agency Aims Comments
Promotion of water safety activities DEST To provide financial assistance to water safety organisations, including Surf Life Saving Australia and the Royal Life Saving Society, for the development of safe beach and surf and other water-related activities and programs  
Ocean Rescue 2000 Marine and Coastal Community Network DEST Annie Ilett 274 1747 To foster community involvement in marine conservation through facilitating information exchange and consultation  

Regional development

Program Lead agency Aims Comments
Urban and Regional Development Review DHRD Australian Urban and Regional Development Review (06) 285 8590 Through research and consultation, to allow for the definition of an Australian vision for internationally competitive cities and long-term goals and strategies to effect the major changes required in cities Non-grant
Regional Development Program DHRD Office of Regional Development (06) 276 1720 To implement an integrated series of measures to support the development of sustainable economic activity at a regional level Grant Eligible: organisations formed at a regional level and whose primary focus is economic development

Research, education & data management

Program Lead agency Aims Comments
Understanding Science and Your Environment DEST-EPA, RACI Aimed at schools, industry and the wider community through service and community organisations and the Australian Council of Trade Unions, to raise public awareness of comparative risks and a broad range of environmental issues  
Australian Heritage Research Program AHC Karl Bossard 271 2135 Funds major surveys and other projects that directly help the Heritage Commission to carry out its statutory role Non-grant Ongoing
National Wilderness Inventory AHC Jonathon Miller 271 2140 To measure wilderness quality values across a region and store them in a database Non-grant
Australian Biological Resources Study Participatory Program ANCA Ms Liz Visher (06) 250 9554 To provide support for research aimed at determining what plants and animals are found in Australia and their distribution Grant Operational researchers
Ocean Rescue 2000 National Marine Education program DEST Maria Simonelli (06) 274 1906 To inform all Australians on how to work together to safeguard the marine environment for the future. To provide accurate and timely information based on the latest marine research, targeting the general community, schools, the media, industry and recreational groups  
National Marine Information System DEST-ERIN Wayne Slater (06) 274 1199 To develop a marine and coastal information system to effectively support decision makers in all spheres of government . To provide an information base to aid in identifying potential marine protected areas  
Environmental education ANCA To foster understanding of natural areas, including marine parks and reserves and environments  
Environmental Resources Information Network ERIN To draw together, upgrade and supplement information on the distribution of endangered species, vegetation types and heritage sites. To assist portfolio agencies in planning and decision making  
Marine and Estuarine Protected Areas Inventory ANCA Mr Damian McRae (06) 250 0715 To provide a database of all Australian established marine parks and reserves Non-grant Major revision/update in progress.
Research and Surveys Program ANCA Mr John Henry (06) 250 0333 To make funds available to consultants for specific services related to national nature conservation issues Non-grant Operational
Air-sea interaction research Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre To improve understanding of processes at the air–sea interface and their role in determining patterns of weather and climate  
Marine meteorological and oceanographic data collection Bureau of Meteorology To provide the database for routine marine services and weather and climate research  
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority-research and monitoring GBRMPA To initiate and fund research that will assist in the conservation and management of the Great Barrier Reef  
Torres Strait Baseline Study GBRMPA To provide baseline data on biota and sediments in the Torres Strait region  
Coastal Zone Research Program CSIRO To understand the processes by which land use and changes affect the coastal zone and to use this understanding to produce appropriate management tools, including an information base, for management  
1. Land use and water quality Dr Keith Smettem (077) 719 581 Examines how land use in rural catchments affects levels of nutrients, sediments and other contaminants in rivers and the entry of materials into the coastal zone  
2. In-stream processes Dr David Jones (02) 887 8851 Investigates the movement of contaminants in the streams and rivers leading into the estuary  
3. Estuarine mixing models Dr Denis Mackey (002) 325 213 Describes the movement of water in estuaries and what happens when they meet the sea. Allows prediction of chemical distribution in estuaries  
4. Sediments Dr Trevor Ward (09) 246 8288 Investigates the processes that transport pollutants to and from sediments, the biological effects of polluted sediments, and what happens to pollutants retained in sediments  
5. Marine eutrophocation Dr Hugh Kirkham (09) 246 8288 Concentrates on the impact of raised nutrient levels on the near-shore flora and fauna  
6. CAMRIS Dr Doug Cocks (06) 242 1741 Offers an information system to support management decision making in coastal zone areas  
Coastal and marine geoscience projects: AGSO   Non-grant
1. Coastal and marine environmental geoscience (06) 249 9291 Dr Robert Burne Dr Robert Burne Provide the baseline geoscientific data and interpretations necessary for the sustainable development and integrated resource management of Australia's coastal zone  
2. Urban/coastal impacts Dr David Heggie (06) 249 9589 Provide high-quality scientific information for the development of environmental monitoring and management strategies for the estuarine coastal system  
3. Coastal and marine geoscience information system (COMARGIS) Colin Simpson (06) 249 9368 Improve geoscientific advice for management and monitoring of coastal environments to meet the requirements of ecologically sustainable development  
4. Cainozoic climates and paleoenvironments in Australia Dr Elizabeth Truswell (06) 249 9427 Enhance understanding of natural processes, leading to better informed policy decisions for mitigating the impacts of climate  
5. Co-operative Research Centre for the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Environment Dr Barry Wilcox (06) 249 9273 Enhance the knowledge base on which rational decisions can be made for Australian and international management and protection of the Southern Ocean and Antarctica. Achieve sustainable improvements in the simulation of global climate and predictions of climate and environmental change.  
6. North-West Shelf Dr Peter Harris (002) 207 888 Influence the economic development in the North-West Shelf region by promoting more efficient and cost-effective exploration.  
7. South-east margin Dr Neville Exon (06) 249 9347 Influence the economic development in the south-east margin region by promoting more efficient and effective exploration  
8. Law of the sea Dr Phil Symonds (06) 249 9490 Assist in formulation of policy and negotiations on maritime boundaries and in the definition of Australia's offshore jurisdiction (including publication of the offshore resource map series)  
9. Natural hazards mapping in the Australian Region Dr Wally Johnson (06) 249 9377 Provide hazard assessments in the Australian region, leading to improved hazard awareness and preparedness  
Industry Innovation Programs DIST AusIndustry Inquiry Hotline (008) 026 121 To increase research, development projects and commercialisation of products, process and systems, so that Australian firms can improve their performance and win new markets Grant and non-grant programs are included. Call Hotline for more information
Coastal Processes and Resources AIMS To investigate and understand the physical and biological factors controlling ecological processes in coastal zone ecosystems. Emphasis has been on mangroves. Future emphasis will be on seagrasses, freshwater wetlands and coastal reefs  
Coral Reef Ecosystems AIMS To understand the effects of human disturbance and exploitation of coral reefs within the context of natural spatial and temporal variation of coral systems  
Environmental Studies and Biotechnology AIMS To investigate selected organisms, to determine how they respond to and record environmental conditions and to develop an understanding of their potential for mariculture or other potential commercial products  
Tropical Oceanography AIMS To improve understanding of physical, biological and chemical processes in Australia's northern coastal shelf and oceanic waters  
Information Management (establishment of the Australian GIS and development of the National Directory of Australian Resources to include comprehensive information on coastal data sets) DPIE–NRIC To improve the ability of information bases to contribute to policy development, decision making and resource management in coastal and marine environments  

Sustainable natural resource management

Program Lead agency Aims Comments

National Landcare Program

National Landcare Program community component (nature conservation programs)



Mr Chris Mobbs (06) 250 0337

To encourage nature conservation and the uptake of ecologically sustainable land management practices by managers of natural resources on both property and regional scales. To establish partnerships between community, industry and government, supported by community-based activities, economic and institutional reforms Incorporating components of One Billion Trees and Save the Bush
National Landcare Program community component (land and water elements) DPIE Ray Walker (06) 272 5560 To encourage self-help attitudes and capacity through locally based community groups in planning, promoting and implementing sustainable natural resource management practices on both property and regional levels Grants Community (Landcare) groups
National Landcare Program Commonwealth–State component DPIE Charles Willcocks (06) 272 4162 To pursue joint sustainable resource management initiatives in partnership with , State Governments (partnership agreements) that have the support of local governments, non-government organisations, industry and community groups Grants State agencies non-government organisations, Local Government and some Commonwealth authorities
National Landcare Program national component DPIE Lionel Woods (06) 272 4371 To fund sustainable resource management activities with a clear national focus or application, including projects that result in the improved targeting of national programs and projects addressing issues requiring more attention to meet national priorities Grants State agencies, non-government organisations, Local Government and some Commonwealth authorities


Program Lead agency Aims Comments
Sites of National Tourism Significance Program Tourism Environment Management Section (06) 279 7146 To encourage and facilitate the ecologically sustainable management and use of natural sites of national tourism significance Grant Eligible: State/Territory and Local Government authorities
National Ecotourism Program Tourism Nature Based and Indigenous Tourism Section (06) 279 7126 To increase Australia's competitiveness as an ecotourism destination, enhance visitor appreciation of natural and cultural values, and contribute to the long-term conservation and management of ecotourism resources Grant. Organisations eligible for funding include Commonwealth, State/Territory and Local Government, national resource management, education and training, research, cultural and conservation bodies, community organisations, professional associations, indigenous communities and regional development organisations
Forest Ecotourism Program Tourism Environment Management Section (06) 279 7146 To encourage and facilitate ecotourism in Grant forests throughout Australia Eligible: State/Territory land management agencies, regional tourism associations, Local Government authorities, community groups, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, conservation organisations, and academic institutions
Regional Tourism Development Program Tourism Development Section (06) 279 7192 To encourage sustainable tourism and Regional economic growth in regional areas through the development of regional tourism strategic plans, infrastructure and information co-ordination within a region Grant Eligible: Local Government authorities, regional tourism associations and regional ecotourism development organisations

Urban Development

Program Lead agency Aims Comments
Building Better Cities DHRD Urban Programs Branch To demonstrate and develop improved urban planning and development processes through promoting economic growth, improved social justice, institutional reform, ecologically sustainable development and improved urban environments  
National Urban Development Program DHRD To encourage industry, community and State and Local Government acceptance of innovative residential development techniques in order to promote the efficient supply of land and housing  


AFMA Australian Fisheries Management Agency DPIE Department of Primary Industries and Energy
AGSO Australian Geological Survey Organisation EPA Environment Protection Agency (Commonwealth)
AHC Australian Heritage Commission ERIN Environmental Resources Information Network
AIMS Australian Institute of Marine Science FRDC Fisheries Research and Development Corporation
AMSA Australian Maritime Safety Authority GBRMPA Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
ANCA Australian Nature Conservation Agency HRD Housing and Regional Development
ANZECC Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council ICC Island Coordinating Committee (Torres Strait)
ATSIC Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission ESD Ecologically Sustainable Development
AWRC Australian Water Resources Council IMO International Maritime Organisation
CAMRIS Coastal and Marine Resources Information System NGAC National Greenhouse Advisory Committee
COAG Council of Australian Governments NHMRC National Health and Medical Research Council
CSIRO Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation NOHSC National Occupational Health and Safety Commission
DCA Department of Communication and the Arts NRIC National Resource Information Centre
DEST Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories OCS Office of the Chief Scientist
DFAT Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade QDEH Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage
DHRD Department of Housing and Regional Development RACI Royal Australian Chemical Institute
DIST Department of Industry, Science and Technology SCEP (ANZECC) Standing Committee on Environmental Protection