Have your say on the zoning plan
A PUBLIC consultation program about proposed changes to the Solitary Islands Marine Park zoning plan is now under way.
Marine Parks Authority member and head of NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Sally Barnes, encouraged the community to take part in the process to ensure government could consider all views before making a final decision.
Ms Barnes said the consultation would give the community an opportunity to see: the full report and recommendations prepared by the Marine Parks Authority following the 18-month review process; the recommendations and proposed changes by the Minister for Climate Change and the Environment and the Minister for Primary Industry, which are now on exhibition, and; maps and other documentation outlining the proposed changes – including updated seabed habitat maps.
This information is being released now in advance of public exhibition of the regulation currently being drafted, which will set out the zoning changes in more detailed regulatory terms. This regulation will be released in June for three months of public consultation.
“In order to maximise the opportunity for the community to understand and have its say about the proposed changes, we’re releasing this public information package now in advance of the regulation,” Ms Barnes said.
“We want to hear what the community and industry think of the proposals and are encouraging people to make a submission after considering all of the information available, including the regulation that will be released in coming weeks.”
Ms Barnes said under the key proposed changes:
- Sanctuary zones would increase from 12 per cent to 20 per cent of the park
- Habitat protection zones would decrease from 54 per cent to 52 per cent of the park
- General use zones would decrease from 34 per cent to 28 per cent of the park
- Special purpose zones will remain around 0.1 per cent of the park.
Ms Barnes said the proposed changes reflected submissions from the community to the review process, such as fixing zoning to reduce the complexity of rounded boundaries, and improving access to key fishing spots near Bare Bluff, Groper Island and Minnie Water Back Beach.