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Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
23 August 2005
The Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, today released the terms of reference for the review of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975.
“This review is part of the Australian Government’s election commitment to improve the performance of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, its office holders and its accountability frameworks,” Senator Campbell said.
“This Act has not been reviewed for a long time and it needs to be modernised to ensure it complements and works in harmony with the Australian Government’s primary legislation for environmental regulation, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
“Through the authority, the Australian Government has increased the protection of the reef from five to 33 per cent under the Representative Areas Programme. This review will not be revisiting the outcomes of that programme.
“We need to ensure this world-leading authority can guarantee the protection of the park’s biodiversity and conservation values, as well as maintain sustainable fisheries and sustainable tourism industries.
“The Australian Government will work closely with the State Government and will be consulting with key stakeholders in the coming months.
“I want to reassure the people of North Queensland this review is not about winding back the authority. The authority’s board will continue to be the principal source of advice to government on the authority’s operations, and the authority will continue to be the primary source of advice on the conservation and management of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
“The authority will maintain its presence in Townsville and in other coastal centres. It has an impressive track record and all Australians can be proud of its achievements for the protection of the reef over the last 30 years. This review will focus on ensuring the authority’s governance arrangements not only meet modern best practice, but also define world’s best practice.”
Senator Campbell said the review, expected to take about six months to complete, would also meet the requirements of the government’s broader review of the governance of statutory authorities, the Uhrig review, and consideration would be given to changing the Authority’s financial framework to the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997.
The review will be chaired by the Secretary of the Department of the Environment and Heritage, David Borthwick, assisted by Barbara Belcher, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and Jonathan Hutson, Department of Finance and Administration. Public submissions are invited, with a closing date of 30 September 2005.
The panel will also travel to major coastal centres along the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and stakeholders will be invited to meet with the panel to present their views.
The Terms of Reference for the review and information on the public submission process are available at www.deh.gov.au/coasts/mpa/gbrmpa
Renae Stoikos 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434