Existing protection and management
2014 Summary of assessment
Context is assessed as the strongest management effectiveness element and trends are either stable or improving. Understanding of values, direct and indirect threats and stakeholders is generally strong. Understanding of cumulative and consequential impacts as well as condition and trend is improving and has been effectively documented through the Outlook Report and strategic assessment processes. In particular, tourism, defence activities, recreation, research activities and land-based run-off are well understood. This reflects a solid information and research base and a very mature understanding of the key values of the Region. Significant efforts have been made in planning for a number of topics such as biodiversity protection and recreation. Planning effectiveness has declined for climate change measures specific to the Region, principally as a result of changing policy and a lack of clarity about future directions. It has also declined for commercial marine tourism and research activities, largely because plans and policies have not been completed or updated. For coastal development, the fractured nature of the planning regime is problematic and recent changes have raised concerns. Planning effectiveness has improved for the management of land-based run-off and traditional use where the investment of resources is paying dividends. Lack of consistency across jurisdictions is the weakest aspect of planning. Adequacy of inputs is variable across management topics, being least effective for community benefits, coastal development and non-Indigenous heritage management. Poor understanding of heritage values is a problem for most issues and is among the worst performing criteria across the whole assessment. Availability of socioeconomic knowledge has improved. Substantial resources have been devoted to the topics of land-based run-off and traditional use. Secure resourcing is a significant ongoing problem for many management topics. In many cases the lack of adequate resources to advance planning and management is constraining the effectiveness of other aspects of management. Management processes are particularly strong for defence activities, shipping and management of land-based run-off. They are weakest for coastal development, community benefits and Indigenous heritage values. Addressing consequential and cumulative impacts, application of socioeconomic and Indigenous knowledge, and setting of targets to benchmark performance are problematic for most issues. Consideration of cumulative and consequential impacts has improved substantially. Stakeholder engagement and application of biophysical information are the strongest aspects of management across all issues. Delivery of desired outputs was rated as effective or very effective for all topics except coastal development. It is strongest for commercial marine tourism, defence activities, research activities and land-based run-off, where there has been a noticeable improvement. The knowledge base of managing agencies and the community has consistently improved. While the majority of management programs are progressing satisfactorily, timeframes frequently slip and it is not yet clear that the programs are achieving all their desired objectives. Achievement of desired outcomes is highly variable across the management topics. Objectives in relation to community understanding of issues and development of effective partnerships are being achieved. Performance in outcomes is especially strong for research activities, shipping and defence activities. Overall, the weakest performance was for climate change, then coastal development, land-based run-off and fishing. For land-based run-off, the continued poor outcomes for the Region are largely due to scale of the problem and lags within the natural system.
Understanding of context
Very good, Improved
Financial, staffing and information inputs
Management systems and processes
Delivery of outputs