National Oceans Office, 2004
ISBN 1 8770 4338 9
About the report
This Scoping Report for the Northern Planning Area is a major step in developing a Regional Marine Plan for the Northern Planning Area. We are aiming to make sure the use and management of the marine resources is ecologically sustainable well into the future. We will do this by:
- Developing a better way to do oceans business between governments to provide increased certainty for all oceans users;
- Recognising and better coordinating current initiatives;
- Identifying current and emerging issues that require more attention; and
- Putting in place a way to measure whether oceans management is contributing to a sustainable future.
By taking a close look at the Northern Planning Area - with advice from the science, industry, conservation and local communities – priorities for government in the marine environment have now been broadly identified. While there is much work underway, there is still much work to do to address issues in the Region. The work to support this report was developed jointly by the Australian, Queensland and Northern Territory Governments. The Queensland and Northern Territory Governments have an ongoing interest in the process and, as it continues, they will consider the nature of their relationship to the final Northern Regional Marine Plan. The Australian Government is working to release the final Northern Regional Marine Plan by the end of 2005. It will identify long-term objectives for the Northern Planning Area and actions to achieve them. Key outcomes of the Plan will be:
- measures to maintain and enhance the sustainability and competitiveness of industry, including the development of cultural and natural resource-based industries to address Indigenous and broader community sustainable development needs;
- improved Indigenous involvement in marine resource management including development of sea country management plans;
- identification of areas that will contribute to a comprehensive, adequate and representative system of marine protected areas (MPAs) in Commonwealth waters;
- actions to minimise impacts on the marine environment, including better use of measures – other than marine protected areas – to achieve conservation objectives including reducing the impact of marine debris and sustainably managing turtle and dugong populations;
- integrated spatial management of marine uses to meet conservation, industry, infrastructure and community development objectives, to provide a fair and transparent basis for resource allocation decisions;
- better coordination of research and communication to make information more accessible for decision-makers as well as industry, communities and Indigenous interests; and
- a performance assessment system with long-term monitoring, risk assessment, reporting and review arrangements to guide sustainable development and measure the effectiveness of management decisions.