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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

NEW NATIONAL OCEANS OFFICE TO BE BASED IN HOBART


25 June 1999

The Commonwealth Government will locate the new National Oceans Office in Hobart creating a hub of national marine activities in Tasmania.

Environment and Heritage Minister, Robert Hill, said that the National Oceans Office would join the Australian Antarctic Division and CSIRO Marine Research in Hobart.

"The establishment of the National Oceans Office was one of the key commitments made by the federal government in Australia's Oceans Policy, which was released in December of last year," Senator Hill said.

"The Office will oversee implementation of the oceans policy and, in particular the Regional Marine Planning process we are establishing.

"The Office will be housed in my department, Environment Australia, and will report through me to the new National Oceans Ministerial Board.

Senator Hill said that Australia's Oceans Policy, and its Regional Marine Planning process have put Australia at the forefront of international efforts to implement ecosystem-based management and promote our ocean industries, community participation and scientific research.

"We have already commenced planning for the first Regional Marine Plan which will cover the south-east section of Australia's vast Exclusive Economic Zone.

"Once established, the National Oceans Office will take the lead in developing this and other marine plans which will ensure that the needs of conservation, industry and the broader community are brought together.

"One of the opportunities we identified in the development of the oceans policy was the need to better coordinate the activities of Commonwealth agencies with marine responsibilities.

"Locating the National Oceans Office in Hobart will allow the Office to work closely with the Antarctic Division, which has developed enormous expertise in matters relating to the southern oceans, and CSIRO Marine Research, one of Australia's pre-eminent marine science organisations.

Senator Hill said that recruitment would commence immediately for the Office, which will employ up to 30 people.

Media contact:
Rod Bruem 02 6277 7640 or 0411 128 582

Commonwealth of Australia