First community participation phase

(May - August 2002)

During a rezoning process, all components of the Zoning Plan are open for comment and alteration. As the Zoning Plans in place at this time were progressively developed over 17 years, some of the terms, management provisions and zone names differed between areas of the Marine Park. It was proposed the Draft Zoning Plan would comprise a single Zoning Plan for the entire Marine Park, including the new coastal sections. This would allow consistent names and provisions to be applied.

A public notice to prepare a Draft Zoning Plan was issued on 7 May 2002 with public input invited until 7 August 2002.

The first formal community participation phase was extremely resource-intensive, and involved a variety of techniques to ensure all coastal communities were aware of the Representative Areas Program and encouraged to get involved. An important part of this phase was a program to ensure the public understood the numerous pressures on the Great Barrier Reef and why a new Zoning Plan was needed. This stage of community participation included providing blank maps of defined areas in the Marine Park linked to a questionnaire. People were asked to mark areas that were of interest to them and to record corresponding information on the questionnaire. These areas could either be places people used for fishing or other activities, or sites of special and unique value. The map-questionnaire also prompted people to provide general comments about Marine Park management issues. The map-questionnaires were completed either by individuals or by people working as a group.

As a result, 10 190 written submissions were received with over 95 per cent using the map-questionnaires provided by Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA). This was the largest number of submissions ever received by the GBRMPA for a zoning or management planning exercise (the previous record was 1009 submissions received during the Cairns Section Zoning Plan review in 1992). The record level of publicity about the rezoning program and the large number of written submissions required the GBRMPA to implement a number of new ways to handle the huge amount of information. This included developing a new submissions database.

Key publications

Supporting publications

Technical Information Sheets

  • What you should know - Introduction
  • Biodiversity and why it is important - Biodiversity is a term used to describe the abundance of all plants and animals, together with the places they live and the natural processes that keep them alive. We rely on biodiversity for a diverse range of social, economic and cultural benefits. This sheet further explains the value of biodiversity and outlines the importance of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area for biodiversity.
  • Zoning in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park - Zoning is one of the principal management tools used to manage impacts and activities in the Marine Park. Zones allow for a spectrum of activities to occur within specific areas of the Marine Park, as well as help separate potentially conflicting uses.
  • Do no-take areas work? - The best possible scientific evidence was used to support the implementation of the Representative Areas Program along with extensive community input and information. Scientific evidence from countries all over the world supports the value of no-take areas in protecting animals, plants and habitats for the long-term. This information sheet includes a review of some of that evidence.
  • The benefits of no-take areas - No-take areas provide more benefits to society than just protecting threatened species or different habitat types. The Representative Areas Program was about protecting biodiversity. This is a summary of the benefits of no-take areas.
  • What is the Representative Areas Program? - The Representative Areas Program was a review of the existing zoning within the Marine Park to further protect its unique biodiversity, while minimising impacts on existing use. This is a review of the objectives of the program and the process for its implementation.
  • Biophysical operational principles - An independent Scientific Steering Committee has developed a package of biophysical principles aimed at protecting the biodiversity of the entire Marine Park. These 11 biophysical principles make recommendations on, for example, the minimum size of no-take areas (Green Zones) for each of the 70 bioregions in the Marine Park. The biophysical principles helped to guide the implementation of Green Zones during the rezoning process.
  • Social, economic, cultural and mangement feasibility operational principals - An independent steering committee developed a package of principles to protect the social, economic and cultural values of interest groups towards the Marine Park. Implementation of these principles, together with input from local communities and stakeholders, meant the new system of no-take areas (Green Zones) were located where they will cause the least detrimental impact on Marine Park users.
  • A review of zoning plans - The entire Marine Park was re-zoned in order to better protect the Reef. This rezoning implemented the Representative Areas Program by expanding the size and number of no-take areas (Green Zones). It achieved a number of other objectives (including the new coastal areas below).
  • New coastal areas of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park - The addition to the Marine Park of 28 new coastal areas means these areas were zoned for the first time. This was done concurrently when re-zoning the rest of the Marine Park where zoning plans already exist. Input guided future management arrangements for these small but significant areas.
  • Information collected to assist in the Representative Areas Program - In developing a network of no-take areas (Green Zones), the GBRMPA considered scientific evidence together with a wide range of other social, economic, cultural and management information. As far as is possible the values, practical experience and knowledge of local communities was considered as part of the program.
  • How we currently manage the Great Barrier Reef - This is a basic outline of the management structure and the broad approach by which the GBRMPA manages the range of critical issues that affect the Marine Park.
  • Our environmental commitments - There are numerous national and international commitments, conventions and treaties relevant to the protection of the environment. The Representative Areas Program helps Australia to fulfil these commitments and better protect the broad range of biodiversity occurring throughout the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Frequently asked questions - This is a compilation of some of the most commonly asked questions from stakeholder meetings and presentations.
  • Need more information? - A list of useful websites and publications provided to stakeholders during the public participation phases of the Representative Areas Program.
  • Other Publications