As you’ll be aware, the South-East Marine Protection Forum has been discussing various areas for possible inclusion in a network of marine protected areas along the South East Coast. On July 28, the Forum met again to consider further feedback from the various stakeholder groups about the biodiversity values and existing use of those areas. This was a pivotal meeting in terms of refining the proposals in respect of which the Forum wants more information from the public. The proposals will be presented in the public consultation document to be released in early October.
As a result of community feedback and advice, a number of areas under discussion have been withdrawn from consideration in the final network.
One of the guiding principles of the Forum is to work collaboratively to achieve consensus in decision-making. Though there were disagreements, the Forum was able to reach consensus on what would be presented in the public consultation document in order to get public feedback. In some parts of the proposed network, the Forum decided the best way to get helpful information from the public is to present options/alternatives.
The information received from the public submission process will be used by the Forum to amend and refine the proposed network, and where there are alternatives and options, make a choice.
Once the public consultation document is released in early October, there will be opportunities for the public to get more information on the proposals for a marine protected areas network, and help on how to make a submission and how the process works. The public will have 40 working days (2 months) to provide submissions.
The feedback from submissions will contribute to shaping the final recommendations that will be delivered to the Government in April 2017.

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