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Publications archive - Annual reports

Disclaimer

Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2002-03

Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2003
ISSN 1441 9335

Review of performance - Outcome one: Environment (continued)

Coasts and Oceans (continued)

Natural Heritage Trust Investments

(Departmental output 1.3)

Objective

To ensure that Trust investment targets Commonwealth coasts and oceans priorities.

Result
Coastcare

Through Coastcare, under the extension of the Natural Heritage Trust, communities are encouraged to protect Australia's coastal catchments, ecosystems and the marine environment. Coastcare seeks to provide landholders, community groups and other natural resource managers with understanding and skills to contribute to biodiversity conservation and sustainable natural resource management.

In 2002-03 30 Coastcare facilitators were funded, at a cost of $1.47 million, to:

In 2002-03 two projects contributed to an increased understanding and appreciation by coastal communities, including Indigenous communities, of the role of coastal and marine biodiversity in Australia's landscape. The projects also increased community involvement in coastal management activities. These were the Coastcare sponsorship and promotions project and the Matthew Flinders Bicentennial Coast Survey.

Coastal Catchments Initiative

In 2002-03, $2.2 million was provided to 32 projects under the Natural Heritage Trust's Coastal Catchments Initiative. The initiative is funded from Coastcare and Rivercare under the extension of the Trust. The projects will develop water quality improvement plans for the Peel Harvey estuary in WA, the Derwent estuary in Tasmania, waterways of the Douglas Shire in Queensland, and the port waterways in South Australia. Projects commenced that will support the implementation of these plans include decision support systems, data collection, and onground management actions.

Marine Species Protection and Cetacean Conservation initiatives

The Natural Heritage Trust provided $1.15 million for the Marine Species Protection and Cetacean Conservation initiatives. Funding of $322 000 was provided for projects that continued from the Marine Species Protection Program under the first phase of the Trust, and $828 000 from Coastcare under the extension of the Trust. The projects delivered against a number of government commitments, including reviewing the conservation status of priority small cetaceans and progressing the conservation of albatrosses and petrels. Other projects supported management activities that help protect marine species at risk, including turtles, dugongs, sharks, seals, seahorses and cetaceans. Projects helped to reduce the incidental deaths of marine species, promote the recovery of threatened marine species, reduce or manage the effects of disturbance on marine species, and reduce adverse environmental impact on the key habitats of marine or marine-dependent species.

Introduced Marine Pests and Ballast Water Remediation programs

A number of investments under the first phase of the Trust made through the Introduced Marine Pests and Ballast Water Remediation programs continued from 2001-02. These investments addressed Australia's capacity to identify actual and potential introduced marine pests, prevent their introduction, respond to future incursions, and control and manage pests already in Australia, which comprise around one in ten of the approximately 250 introduced marine species in Australian waters. The priority given to these programs is derived from commitments made under Australia's Oceans Policy in 1998, and recommendations of a National Taskforce on the Prevention and Management of Marine Pest Incursions in 1999, which were endorsed by all jurisdictions.

The major focus under the Introduced Marine Pests Program was the management of existing introduced marine pests, and projects included the implementation of a national control plan for the northern Pacific seastar (Asterias amurensis) and the exploration of control options for a seaweed (Caulerpa taxifolia).

The Ballast Water Remediation Program continued to explore mechanisms for the best management of ships' ballast water to prevent the introduction of new exotic marine pests to Australia. Research is being undertaken into the development of an effective filtering system for an onboard and/or port-based treatment plant, to create a highly effective treatment process that will remove potential marine pests from ships' ballast water.

Under the Coastcare component of the extension of the Natural Heritage Trust, the Department and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry administered funding of $750 000 for a joint project contributing to the development of a National System for the Prevention and Management of Introduced Marine Pests. The national system is being developed from 2002 to 2005 in cooperation with the states and the Northern Territory, as well as industry and community stakeholders.

Under the current interim arrangements, as well as in the future national system, the Department is leading the control and management of existing introduced marine pests, while the Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry portfolio leads on prevention of new pests and emergency responses to significantly damaging new pest incursions that can be eradicated.

In addition, $70 000 was provided to the Government of Chile to assist in the implementation of a joint Australia-Chile project to design and establish an introduced marine pests management framework for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region in 2003-04.

Antifouling

In the first phase of the Natural Heritage Trust, the Antifouling Program was begun as part of Australia's Oceans Policy. It was close to conclusion at the end of 2002-03, having met its objective of assisting in the implementation of the Australian Government's commitment to ban the painting of environmentally harmful Tributyltin-based (TBT) antifouling paints on ships in Australia.

In August 2002 Australia signed, subject to ratification, the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Antifouling Systems on Ships 2001. To assist in implementing the convention in Australia, the Antifouling Program funded projects to examine the efficacy and potential environmental impact of alternatives to TBT-based paints.

The program's successful trial of antifouling paint alternatives to TBT has made a significant contribution to understanding the safety and efficacy of these agents for vessels and the environment. This has resulted in improved confidence by the maritime industries in the use of alternative antifouling agents, which will greatly assist in the implementation of the International Maritime Organization's ban on the use of TBT antifouling paints.