The Government consultation behind Australia’s Marine Parks
The process to create Australia’s national network of marine parks started under the Howard Government in 1998. It has been an epic consultation process with 6 rounds of public consultation, more than 250 meetings and around 750,000 submissions made during the public consultation process which started in 2011 and ended in 2013.
Since 1998, marine bioregional plans have been developed for each of Australia’s five marine regions: the South-east in 2004, and the South-west, North-west, North and Temperate East in 2012, under sn 176 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The plans identified the conservation values of each region and the actions needed to protect them. One of those actions is the establishment of a network of marine reserves in the Commonwealth waters of each marine region, and the marine bioregional planning process gathered environmental, social and economic data to assist in the identification, selection and design of Commonwealth marine reserves networks in each region. These networks form part of the National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas agreed to in 1998 by federal, state and territory governments, at which time they also committed to its establishment by 2012.
This briefer outlines the six consultation phases of the community and stakeholder consultation that has been fundamental to the marine bioregional and reserve planning process. The Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (SEWPaC) coordinates the consultation process.
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