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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

4 April 2003

Minister Kemp Thanks National Oceans Office Director For Her Contribution To Oceans Policy

Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, announced today the first Director of Australia's National Oceans Office, Ms Veronica Sakell, will leave the position on 11 April 2003 at the expiry of her contract. Ms Sakell has indicated that she would like to take advantage of an opportunity to travel extensively overseas with her husband.

As Chair of the National Oceans Ministerial Board, Dr Kemp warmly thanked Ms Sakell for her efforts over the last three years in establishing the National Oceans Office in Hobart, developing the South East Regional Marine Plan, and furthering the implementation of Australia's Oceans Policy.

"Australia's Oceans Policy is widely acknowledged as the first national policy framework of its kind in the world," Dr Kemp said.

"Developing the South East Regional Marine Plan is the most extensive and complex marine planning exercise in the world. When completed later this year, the Plan will guide governments, industry and the community in the wise use and conservation of southeast Australia's precious marine resources."

Lessons learnt from this pioneering work, undertaken under Ms Sakell's leadership, are setting the scene for comprehensive marine planning coordinated by the National Oceans Office that will eventually cover the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone.

With Ms Sakell as Director, the National Oceans Office has coordinated extensive and detailed marine science and surveying, including three-dimensional imaging of the canyons, seamounts and plains of the sea floor, that have revolutionised our perception of Australia's marine environment.

"On behalf of the National Oceans Ministerial Board, I thank Veronica Sakell for her contribution to Australia's Oceans Policy. We wish her all the best for the future," Dr Kemp said.

Dr Kemp also announced Mark Tucker will act as Director of the National Oceans Office from 12 April until the position is filled. Mr Tucker has managed the Marine and Water Division in Environment Australia. He has worked in senior positions in the Commonwealth for over 15 years, including in the Departments of Prime Minister and Cabinet and Primary Industries and Energy. His professional background is in marine zoology.

"The work of the National Oceans Office is vitally important to the ecologically sustainable development of our marine environment. The National Oceans Ministerial Board will continue to look to the Office to be the catalyst in implementing Australia's Oceans Policy," Dr Kemp said.

Media Contact:
Catherine Job (Dr Kemp's office) 02 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400

Commonwealth of Australia