September 12, 2016
The Australian Government has delivered on its election commitment for an independent review of Commonwealth Marine Reserves.
The Commonwealth Marine Reserves Review examined the management arrangements for the new marine reserves rushed through by the previous government in November 2012.
Unlike the previous government, we are committed to getting the management plans and the balance of zoning right, so we have asked the expert panels to consider what management arrangements will best protect our marine environment and accommodate the many activities that Australians love to enjoy in our oceans.
The expert panels will help restore confidence in Commonwealth marine reserves. They will provide advice to the government, based on the best available science and after genuine consultation with stakeholders.
The government is determined to ensure a science-based review of Commonwealth marine reserves and zoning boundaries, while maintaining our strong commitment to the marine reserves and their estates.
I can reassure you that the government will not be allowing oil and gas exploration and production in sensitive marine areas, including in sanctuary zones and marine national parks zones of the Commonwealth marine reserves. This restriction will be clearly reflected in the new management plans that will be prepared once the Review is completed.
The government’s aim is to have a sensible balance, which protects the environment, supports a sustainable fishing industry, attracts tourism and provides cultural, recreational and economic benefits for coastal communities
The review was conducted by an Expert Scientific Panel with assistance from five Bioregional Advisory Panels. Panel members were selected for their capacity to facilitate input from a broad range of stakeholders.
The review has recently been completed and released and we are now seeking public comment.
This comment period ends on October 11, 2016 and further details can be found at www.parksaustralia.gov.au/marine