Independent Panel appointed for Marine Parks review

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The NSW Government’s Independent Scientific Audit Panel for Marine Parks has been announced today by Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson and Minister for the Environment Robyn Parker.

Minister Hodgkinson said Associate Professor Robert Beeton will Chair the Panel, which will play an important role in ensuring there is the right balance between the sustainable use of the marine environment and the conservation of marine biodiversity.

'The experts who make up this Panel are well known for their achievements in fisheries science, marine biodiversity conservation, and social and economic evaluation. The NSW Liberals and Nationals election commitment was to implement a Marine Parks Policy that is based on science,' Minister Hodgkinson said.

'This independent scientific audit will follow a proven and transparent process that ensures the delivery of evidence-based outcomes. We have gone to great lengths to ensure that all aspects of this review are arms length from government, including the formation of an independent secretariat to support the Audit Panel,' Minister Parker said.

'The review will be a completely transparent process so that members of the public will be able to review the scientific evidence and the reasoning behind the panel’s final recommendations,' Minister Parker added.

Interested parties are invited to provide written submissions addressing one or more of the terms of reference.

Submissions close on 30 September 2011 and can be made online. Submissions must be fully referenced and comply with the guidelines provided on the web site. All submissions accepted will be published on the website, along with all other papers considered by the Audit.

The Independent Scientific Audit of Marine Parks in NSW is due to be completed by 31 December, 2011.

Members of the Independent Scientific Audit Panel:
• Chair: Associate Professor Robert Beeton AM from the University of Queensland. Member of the Order of Australia for his contribution to environmental sciences and natural resource management, with forty years’ experience in conservation and environmental management.

• Associate Professor Emma Johnston from the University of New South Wales who specialises in human disturbances on marine communities, marine pollution introduced marine pests and estuarine health.

• Professor Colin Buxton, marine biologist and Director and Professor, Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute (TAFI) at the University of Tasmania, with expertise spanning biology, ecology and fisheries of inshore reef associated fishes.

• Dr Roberta Ryan, Director of Urbis. Roberta is a leading social policy and planning analyst with over 25 years’ experience in Australia and internationally.

• Mr Greg Cutbush, an economics consultant at the Australian National University with many years of experience as an analyst in the public and private sectors, particularly in the areas of competition policy, international trade, infrastructure policy and cost-benefit analysis.

• Professor Peter Fairweather, marine biologist at Flinders University with experience in ecological processes of aquatic ecosystems, and proper design and analysis of environmental research.

For more information about the scientific audit, panel members and the terms of reference, visit the Marine Parks website; the website will be launched on Monday, 15 August, 2011.

Department of Primary Industries NSW website