Frequently asked questions

For more information on the independent Commonwealth Marine Reserves Review, and the next steps towards developing draft management plans, see our frequently asked questions below.

Can’t find the answer to your question? Feel free to contact us, we would like to assist you with any questions you may have.

Commonwealth Marine Reserves Review

Where can I find the review reports?

The reports of the Expert Scientific Panel and the Bioregional Advisory Panel are publically available. The reports can be found on the review reports page.

What happens now?

The Director of National Parks will be using information received on the sorts of things she needs to consider when making draft management plans as well as public feedback on the recommendations from the independent Commonwealth Marine Reserves Review as a basis for preparing draft management plans for the reserve system.

The Director specifically wanted to hear what people thought about recommendations in the review as the review involved significant community consultation and provided the opportunity for local communities and interested parties and associations to develop improvements to previous management arrangements and discuss new and or emerging science or socio economic information relevant to the development of management plans.

The Director invited feedback on these recommendations and any other things she should take into account in preparing draft management plans through the statutory consultation process.

The first consultation period closed on 31 October 2016. This was the first of two opportunities to have input to the plans, as set out in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Once these initial comments have been reviewed and draft management plans prepared, the Director will release draft management plans that will contain information on zoning and how the marine reserves will be managed. It is important that all interested parties stay involved in the process and review and comment of the draft plans when they are released.

The Director hopes to have the draft management plans for the South-west, North-west, North and Temperate East Commonwealth Marine Reserves Networks and the Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve finalised and released for public comment in the coming months.

To subscribe for updates regarding the development of draft management plans, click here.

For more information on this process and how to input into the development of management plans, click here.

Where can I find more information about the review?

The review reports can be found on the review reports page.

Details about the independent review, such as how the review was commissioned and conducted, and what feedback was received, is available from www.marinereservesreview.gov.au.

Preparation of Commonwealth marine reserves management plans

Why are management plans being prepared?

Management plans provide for the protection and conservation of the marine reserves by setting out the arrangements for management of activities within reserves for a period of 10 years. They state how natural features, heritage and other values are to be protected and conserved and set out the rules about what activities can be done in reserves and where. They are designed to provide certainty to reserve users by giving effect to decisions on zoning and allowable activities consistent with the relevant Australian IUCN reserve management principles. The Director of National Parks is legally required to prepare management plans for Commonwealth reserves.

Why was the first public comment period extended?

Comments on the proposal to prepare management plans were invited until 11 October 2016. This first public comment period was extended until 31 October 2016 to ensure all interested parties had the opportunity to comment.

During the first of two statutory comment periods, additional high resolution maps, spatial data, and the ABARES report were provided. These can be found alongside the Review reports here.

For which reserves are management plans being prepared?

Management plans are being prepared for the:

 

The first of two public comment periods on these plans closed on 31 October 2016. For more information on this process and how to input into the development of management plans, click here.

 

A management plan for the South-east Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network for the period 2013-2023, is currently in effect. General information on the South-east Network is also available.

On what do you base the management plans?

Management plans will be prepared based on the recommendations of the independent Commonwealth Marine Reserves Review and submissions provided through public consultations. The reports of the Expert Scientific Panel and the Bioregional Advisory Panel are available on the review reports page.

The management plans being prepared will be focused on the zoning and management of activities within the existing reserve outer boundaries which were established in 2012.

What are the steps for preparing management plans?

The Director of National Parks (the Director) is responsible, under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), for preparing marine reserve management plans. The Minister for the Environment and Energy is responsible for approving the final plans. Consultation with the community is a key part of preparing management plans. The main steps are set out in sections 368, 370 and 371 of the EPBC Act and summarised below:

  1. The Director invites the public to comment on what they would like to see in draft management plans for the reserves.

    • This public comment period closed on 31 October 2016.
  2. The Director prepares draft management plans, taking into account any comments received during the public comment period.
  3. The Director releases the draft management plans and invites the public to comment on them. This public comment period runs for a minimum of 30 days.
  4. The Director considers the comments received and can alter the draft plans in response to comments received in accordance with the invitation to comment. The Director then gives the final plans to the Minister for the Environment and Energy for approval along with the comments and the Director’s views on them.
  5. The Minister will either approve the plans straight away, or give them back to the Director with suggestions. Once the plans are approved they are registered on the Federal Register of legislation and tabled in both Houses of Parliament. The plans commence operation on a date set by the Minister and have effect for 10 years. For more information on this process and how to input into the development of management plans, click here.

How can I have my say on the management plans?

Many people have contributed to the conversation about management arrangements for Commonwealth Marine reserves through the independent Commonwealth Marine Reserves Review, which undertook extensive consultation with the community. The review’s recommendations are comprehensive and reflect sound science, and provide a solid basis for the preparation of management plans.

Further community consultation will also be important to inform the preparation of management plans. There are two opportunities—whether you participated in the independent review or not—to have your say.

1. First public comment period

The first opportunity to provide comment was when the Director of National Parks invited the public to write or email her about what she should consider as Parks Australia prepares the first draft of the management plans. This was an opportunity to comment on any general concerns people may have or provide specific suggestions for the Director to consider. The Director was particularly keen to hear your views on the recommendations of the independent Commonwealth Marine Reserves Review.

The first of two public comment periods on these plans closed on 31 October 2016. For more information on this process and how to input into the development of management plans, click here.

 

2. Second public comment period

The second opportunity will be when the Director releases draft management plans for comment. The Director will again invite the public to write or email her, this time about what you think of the draft plans.

Will my submission be made public?

No, submissions will not be made public. However, a summary of the submissions received will be made available to interested parties on this website.

How can I keep up to date on the development of new management plans?

You can keep up to date with all the latest information on management plans for Commonwealth marine reserves by subscribing to our email updates.

How will the management plans be finalised and implemented?

At the completion of the two public comment opportunities, the Director of National Parks will finalise the management plans and provide them to the Minister for the Environment and Energy for approval. Once the plans are in place, they will operate for a period of 10 years.

The Government’s has committed funding of $56 million over four years to support the implementation of the management plans. This funding will help to establish a world-class management programme for the reserves, including by:

  • supporting commercial fishers affected by the reserves
  • providing more opportunities for engagement with recreational fishers and community groups
  • promoting local growth in tourism
  • undertaking scientific research and monitoring to help us better understand and protect our unique aquatic assets.

Will there be adjustment assistance for commercial fishers?

A component of the Government's funding commitment to support the implementation of management plans is to assist affected commercial fishers to adjust to new management arrangements. The Government will assess the need for assistance when it finalises management plans.

How will the reserves be managed while new management plans are being prepared?

Until new management plans come into effect, transitional management arrangements are in place for marine reserves in the South-west, North-west, North, Temperate East and Coral Sea. Under these transitional arrangements, there are no changes “on the water” for users of the reserves.