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


13 May 1999

A new National Oceans Advisory Group has been established by the Coalition government to advise the Commonwealth on the implementation of Australia's Oceans Policy, chair of the National Oceans Ministerial Board, Robert Hill, announced today.

"At the first meeting of the new National Oceans Ministerial Board, held in Canberra, ministers agreed to the membership and structure of the group, which will bring together Australia's leading marine conservation, industry, indigenous and scientific organisations," Senator Hill said.

"I am delighted that Russell Reichelt, the Director of the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences (AIMS) has agreed to chair the group.

"Dr Reichelt is one of Australia's leading marine experts. In addition to his role at AIMS, Dr Reichelt chairs the Fisheries and Research Development Corporation Board and is a member of the State of the Environment Committee.

"The National Oceans Advisory Group will provide high level advice to the National Oceans Ministerial Board, particularly in areas such as the development of Regional Marine Plans.

"We will be inviting a range of leading marine organisations to nominate members to the Group in the coming week.

Senator Hill said that the Ministerial Board also reviewed implementation of Australia's Oceans Policy.

"Australia's Oceans Policy is the first comprehensive national plan to protect and manage Australia's marine resources. Funding of $50 million for the policy was confirmed in last night's budget.

"At the core of the Oceans Policy is the Coalition government's commitment to ecosystem-based planning and management of our marine jurisdiction to protect marine biodiversity and to enhance the economic potential of our oceans," Senator Hill said.

"That commitment will be implemented through a new Regional Marine Planning process, which will be overseen by the Board.

"The first plan will be developed for south-eastern region of Australia's marine territory.

"Ministers considered the substantial preparatory work that has been undertaken by officials during the last few months for the development of Regional Marine Plans and the establishment of a new National Oceans Office.

"We also reviewed the outcomes of a major workshop held over 6th and 7th May in Canberra which provided stakeholders and experts with the opportunity to have some input into the development of the Regional Marine Planning framework.

"The implementation of the Oceans Policy and the Regional Planning Process provide Australia with a unique opportunity to lead the world in the ecosystem-based management of our marine resources.

"The first meeting of the Ministerial Board has formally set the ball rolling for that process," Senator Hill said.

The National Oceans Ministerial Board comprises the Minister for: the Environment and Heritage, Robert Hill (chair), Transport and Regional Services, John Anderson; Industry, Science and Resources, Nick Minchin; Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Mark Vaile; and Sport and Tourism, Jackie Kelly.


Chair: Russell Reichelt (Australian Institute of Marine Sciences)

Member Organisations: Australian Marine Conservation Society, World Wide Fund for Nature, Australian Seafood Industry Council, RecFish Australia, Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, Minerals Council of Australia, Tourism Council of Australia, Australian Shipowners Association, Australian Marine Sciences Association, ATSIC, Torres Strait Regional Authority, Marine and Coastal Community Network, Association of Australian Ports and Marine Authorities.

Individuals: Mr Martijn Wilder, lawyer with experience in maritime law, Mr Sam Bateman, Executive Director, Centre for Maritime Policy, University of Wollongong.

Media contact: Rod Bruem (Senator Hill's office) 02 6277 7640 or 0411 128 582 (35/99)

Commonwealth of Australia