Revised Zoning Plan (August - November 2003)

The Draft Zoning Plan was revised following consideration of all the information received in the second phase of community participation. The social, economic, cultural and practical implications helped determine the final selection of the zoning network, while still maintaining or enhancing the levels of protection of biodiversity. Many modifications to the Draft Zoning Plan were made when preparing the revised Zoning Plan, but in some locations there were limited options available to modify proposed no-take areas, particularly the inshore coastal areas.

The significant changes between the initial zoning, the Draft Zoning Plan and the final Zoning Plan, as accepted by Parliament, can be readily seen in the report Review of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act - Review Panel Report, released in 2006. Maps 9, 10 and 11 on pages 69-71 of that report highlight the differences.

The revised Zoning Plan provided protection for 33.3 per cent of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in no-take zones and protected adequate examples of all 70 bioregions as defined by the biophysical operating principles.  Many other zone types also provided increased protection, including a further 0.2 per cent in no-go (Preservation) zones.

Regulatory Impact Statement

It was recognised that the revised Zoning Plan was likely to cause localised economic impacts in relation to a number of Marine Park users, such as the inshore commercial and recreational fisheries. Independent experts, including the Bureau of Rural Sciences, the Bureau of Tourism Research and consultants with expertise in this field, conducted assessments of the social and economic impacts of the revised Zoning Plan. They quantified the range of benefits and costs for all industries that would be affected including commercial fisheries, recreational fisheries, tourism, research and the non-extractive recreational industry. One of the assessments also estimated the conservation and other indirect community benefits (for example the non-transferable ecosystem service benefits such as the maintenance of habitats, maintaining resilience, waste assimilation, and the value for bio-prospecting).

These reports assisted in the preparation of a Regulatory Impact Statement that was required to be submitted to the Australian Government when the Zoning Plan was tabled in Parliament.

Submission of the Zoning Plan to Parliament (December 2003)

The revised Zoning Plan was submitted to the then Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage who tabled it in both Houses of the Australian Parliament on 3 December 2003.  The legislation required the Zoning Plan to be tabled in both Houses of Parliament for a minimum of 15 sitting days. During this statutory review period, either House of Parliament was able to pass a resolution to disallow the Zoning Plan; this would have required the entire Plan to be re-done from the very start (including the two phases of public participation).

Key publications