Second community participation phase

(June - August 2003)

The Draft Zoning Plan was released in June 2003 and the community invited to provide submissions by 4 August 2003. The second community participation phase included:

  • More than 360 meetings/information sessions with thousands of people along the Great Barrier Reef coast
  • The distribution of 76 000 Draft Zoning Plans, 57 000 submission forms, 29 000 explanatory brochures and more than 2100 Compact Discs
  • More than 500 media reports
  • 88 newspaper advertisements
  • Almost 2000 calls to our free-call 1800 number
  • 35 000 hits on the RAP website (63 per cent from Australia, the rest from 99 countries).

Unlike the first community participation phase that sought a broad set of information from the community about Marine Park uses and values, the second phase of consultation focused community comment on the Draft Zoning Plan. A more focussed questionnaire (covering both sides of an A3 page) accompanied the Draft Zoning Plan and assisted public comment. The questionnaire prompted people to identify the draft zones they did not support and requested them to provide alternative options and to state their reasons. The questionnaire also prompted people to nominate those proposed zones they did support with reasons why and to make comment on the draft zoning provisions.

Not all community members were happy with the Draft Zoning Plan. When questioned, some admitted they had not put in a submission in the first place. Without promising that every comment could possibly be incorporated, and reminding everyone that there would likely be many veiws of what to do for the same area, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) encouraged the public that their input was important and all submissions would be fully considered.

Over 21 500 submissions were received by the close of community participation phase Two from a wide range of users, Traditional Owners, local communities, other stakeholders and the public. This time, over 97 per cent of submissions used the questionnaires provided. Like community participation phase one, the huge number of submissions required an innovative and effective process for analysis, and each submission was scanned, analysed by GBRMPA staff and recorded in a detailed database.

Key publications

Related 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.