The development and proclamation of the Commonwealth marine reserves has involved extensive consultation over the past 4 years (including over 210 days of statutory consultation). Management Plans have been finalised for all reserves to ensure marine users have certainty of the zoning and management arrangements.
Under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), six draft management plans were released for public comment - the South-east Network draft plan in July 2012, followed by draft plans for the South-west, North-west, North and Temperate East Networks and the Coral Sea Reserve in January 2013.
Comments received on the draft management plans canvassed a wide range of issues associated with the conservation outcomes achieved by the marine reserves, the potential implications for users of the reserves and issues in relation to future management. A large proportion of submissions raised issues that had been extensively canvassed through earlier consultations and subsequently reflected in the decision to establish the reserves. All public submissions have been considered and the management plans have been amended in a number of respects.
Since proclamation of the Commonwealth marine reserves, they have been managed under transitional arrangements. Until the new management plans come into effect there will be no changes "on the water" for users in the new areas added to the Commonwealth marine reserve estate. Current management arrangements for pre-existing and former reserves (including areas within new reserves that were formerly reserves) will remain in place until the new management plans come into effect.
The management plan for the South-east Network will come into effect on 1 July 2013 with the remaining five management plans coming into effect on 1 July 2014.
All the management plans have been approved by the Minister and registered on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments.
- South-east Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network Management Plan 2013-23
- South-west Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network Management Plan 2014-24
- North-west Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network Management Plan 2014-24
- North Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network Management Plan 2014-24
- Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve Management Plan 2014-24
- Temperate East Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network Management Plan 2014-24