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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment


20 March 1998

The Federal Government has announced reforms to the administration of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) which will result in a more efficient and effective organisation.

Environment Minister Robert Hill has confirmed that GBRMPA will remain a Commonwealth authority based in Townsville.

Senator Hill says the effective protection and management of one of Australia's greatest natural assets is the Howard Government's top priority.

"The goal of the Government is to produce an organisation with a greater focus on outcomes, and which is more responsive to all stakeholders."

"The Authority has an important role to play in protecting the Great Barrier Reef for all Australians. This new structure will enhance the protection of the Reef.

"The Authority will also rationalise its consultative processes so that it is more responsive to the needs of the community and key stakeholders including tourist operators, the fishing industry, and indigenous groups."

The Authority has developed a new administrative structure which will be adopted immediately. The structure is based upon 4 critical issue groups reflecting the key challenges in protecting and managing the Great Barrier Reef:

A streamlined senior management team will provide leadership and will ensure strategic co-ordination across these critical issues.

The administrative reforms to be implemented by GBRMPA will help deliver savings of $1.2 million to taxpayers each year. These savings will offset the fall in revenue to the Authority resulting from the reduction in the EMC from $6 to $4.

In 1997/98, the savings of $1.2 million will be met through utilising the Authority's existing reserves. There will be no impact on staffing levels.

In 1998/99, the savings will be met through:

The Authority will be preparing a strategic plan to guide its activities over the next 5 years. This plan will be released for public comment before being provided to Senator Hill for endorsement. A key element in this plan will be a document setting out the major information needs to be addressed through monitoring activities and the purchase of research services.

Senator Hill also highlighted the need to address governance issues, including any legislative reforms that may be necessary. A consultation paper is being prepared on this issue and will be released for public comment.

"The legislative structure of the Authority is now over twenty years old. It is time to examine that structure to decide if it is still the best possible mechanism to protect and manage the Great Barrier Reef.

"Our goal is to maintain the outstanding international reputation the Authority has earned for its stewardship of the Great Barrier Reef."

Media contact:
Matt Brown on 026 277 7640 or 0419 693 515
March 20, 1998

Commonwealth of Australia