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

20 December 1999

NATIONAL OCEANS OFFICE ESTABLISHED AS AN EXECUTIVE AGENCY


The Commonwealth Government has decided to establish the National Oceans Office in Hobart as an Executive Agency. The National Oceans Office together with the Office of Asset Sales and Information Technology Outsourcing are the first bodies to be established as Executive Agencies under the new Public Service Act which came into effect on 5 December 1999.

Environment and Heritage Minister, Robert Hill said that the decision enables a structure closer to that envisaged at the time of the development of Australia's Oceans Policy.

"The National Oceans Office is responsible, through me, to the National Oceans Ministerial Board established by the government late last year. Establishing the Office as an Executive Agency will ensure that it is able to report directly to Ministers as a 'whole-of-government' agency rather than being a part of the Department of Environment and Heritage," Senator Hill said.

"The Office will oversee implementation of Australia's Oceans Policy and, in particular the Regional Marine Planning process we are establishing."

"Due to the change of status of the National Oceans Office, which includes direct accountability to Commonwealth ministers, a new selection process for the director of the Office will be required. The previously announced proposed head of the office, Alex Schaap, has indicated that he will not be putting his name forward for this changed position. In such circumstances, I wish him well in his continuing career in the Tasmanian public service.

Media contact:
Rod Bruem 02 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364

Commonwealth of Australia