Parks Australia

Monday 20 March 2023

Credit Benjamin Wallis AAD

Public comment periods now open  

The Director of National Parks is inviting public comment on the intent to prepare a new South-east Marine Parks Network Management Plan and a proposal to expand the Macquarie Island Marine Park. 

The Director of National Parks, through its agency Parks Australia, manages a network of 60 Australian Marine Parks located around Australia in Commonwealth waters. 

The South-east Marine Parks Network is comprised of 14 marine parks, including the Macquarie Island Marine Park. The management of the parks is guided by the 2013 South-east Marine Parks Network Management Plan - a 10-year plan which is due to expire in June 2023. 

Director of National Parks, Jody Swirepik, said, “This public comment period is an opportunity for those interested to provide their views on the design and future management of marine parks in Australia’s South-east marine region and will inform Parks Australia’s work to draft a new 10-year management plan.”  

“Each management plan is reviewed and assessed on its own merits, subject to the best available science and evidence. The statutory consultation process is critical to garner evidence and perspectives, consider lessons learned and adapt the management plan to take new information into account”, Ms Swirepik said. 

Macquarie Island Marine Park is located in the Southern Ocean between Australia and Antarctica. The Australian Government announced in February 2023 its intention to expand the existing marine park to protect the entire Exclusive Economic Zone around the island. This proposal would further protect this unique environment, which supports significant biodiversity and has experienced relatively low levels of disturbance. 

The other 13 marine parks of the South-east Network are off the coast of Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. The total network currently covers an area of 388,464 square kilometres. The parks are home to a diverse range of marine species that include many which are unique to this part of the world. 

Following this first consultation stage, the Director of National Parks will prepare a draft management plan which will be released for public comment during a second period of public consultation. The South-east Network will continue to be managed under the current management plan until a new management plan is finalised. 

Submissions can be made until 11:59 PM on 22 May 2023 through the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water’s Have Your Say  platform. 

For more information visit the South-east Marine Parks Network  and the Macquarie Island Marine Park pages on the Parks Australia website.