Australian Marine Parks

Wednesday 12 June 2019 — Darwin

The inaugural meeting of the North Marine Parks Advisory Committee (NMPAC) was held in Darwin on Wednesday 12 June 2019.

This meeting marked the beginning of a two year term for the 13 newly appointed members. Individual members were selected from a large number of applicants who responded to a public expression of interest process open to all Australians last year.

Appointment of the Committee represents an important step in implementing actions in the North Marine Parks Network Management Plan that came into effect 1 July 2018.

The role of the Committee is advisory, not regulatory, and will guide Parks Australia and the Director of National Parks on key aspects of marine park management.

Member attendance:

Mandi Livesey (Acting Chair), Carol Conacher, Christine Lamont, David Ciaravolo, Ian Knuckey, Jason Fowler, John Glaister, Matt Salmon, Robert Pender, Rachel Baird, Robert Fish, Jacqui Doyle (apology), Andrew Maclean (apology), Jackie Gould (apology), Peter Cox (apology).

Observers:

Invited observers were from the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, and the Northern Territory Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Welcoming the new members

At the inaugural North Marine Parks Advisory Committee meeting, Parks Australia welcomed the new members who bring a wealth of experience from across the region on issues critical to marine park management including tourism, fishing, sea country values, science, conservation, governance and communications.

Dorrie – Anne Raymond, representing the Larrakia people, welcomed members to country.

The morning session focused on introducing new members to Australian Marine Parks, the North marine region and Parks Australia’s management vision and objectives. Members were encouraged during presentations to suggest how Parks Australia can deliver actions under the Implementation Plan to meet commitments to deliver management arrangements.

Implementation Plan – Foundation

The key focus of the first meeting was the Foundation Phase Implementation Plan, which identifies management actions across the first 4 years of management (2018-2022).

Under each of the seven programs advice from Committee members was sought on:

  • subject or location specific management needs and opportunities
  • relevant work and programs recently completed, underway or planned that can inform park management
  • marine park user/stakeholder information needs and engagement opportunities.

Communication, Education and Awareness Program

Suggestions focused around actions to improve awareness, understanding and support for marine parks and park management, such as utilising and enhancing online platforms and applications. A demonstration of the Australian Marine Parks Science Atlas was provided to members for their information and communication to their networks. Discussions also highlighted the roles that partner organisations could play in getting messages out to stakeholders and the general public.

Tourism and Visitor Experience Program

Collaborative opportunities for tourism were highlighted as a future area of focus for the committee. However, raising the awareness of marine parks in the North region more broadly was identified as an initial priority.

Indigenous Engagement Program

Opportunities to recognise and respect the ongoing cultural responsibilities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to care for sea country were discussed. Current cultural values mapping projects, including where opportunities for sea country aspirations and management of the North Marine Parks Network may align, were also discussed.

Marine Science Program

Actions to improve awareness, knowledge and understanding of marine park values and pressures were discussed. Knowledge gaps in the region were highlighted, noting that baselines will be established to support future prioritisation of the science program. An overview of the longer-term goals that support science discovery and monitoring were also communicated.

Assessments and Authorisations Program

Parks Australia’s approach to authorising activities in marine parks was outlined, including options to raise awareness of the requirements for undertaking activities, such as tourism or research, in Australian Marine Parks. Information about Parks Australia’s authorisations – permits, class approvals, and activity licences and leases is available here.

Parks Protection and Management Program

The Committee agreed to identify where efforts could be focused for activities such as installing interpretative signage. Opportunities for engagement in management activities such as marine debris monitoring and removal were also discussed.

Compliance Program

Discussions focused around actions that support voluntary compliance by marine parks users, including where communication may be improved. The Committee were advised that Parks Australia applies a risk based approach to developing the annual North Network compliance plan and works in partnership with State, Territory and Commonwealth agencies to conduct compliance activities in the region.

Next Meeting

The next Committee meeting is likely to be held in Darwin in November or December 2019.