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Parks Vic and DSE fail to protect marine environment: Auditor General Victoria

Victoria's Auditor-General, Des Pearson, this morning tabled the "Environmental Management of Marine Protected Areas" report in the Victorian Parliament: This audit examined how effectively marine protected areas have been managed to protect biodiversity. It assessed the roles of Parks Victoria, and the Departments of Sustainability and Environment and Primary Industries, in the environmental management of marine protected areas. Parks Victoria cannot show that marine biodiversity is being protected or that the related management obligations of applying resources as intended are being discharged. Little environmental management activity is evident across its marine protected areas.

Environmental Management of Marine Protected Areas

Tabled: 2 March 2011

Marine protected areas, totalling 11.7 per cent of Victoria's marine environment, have been reserved to protect environmental, historical or cultural features. This audit examined how effectively marine protected areas have been managed to protect biodiversity. It assessed the roles of Parks Victoria, and the Departments of Sustainability and Environment and Primary Industries, in the environmental management of marine protected areas.

Parks Victoria cannot show that it is using allocated taxes to help marine environment

Parks Victoria cannot show that marine biodiversity is being protected or that the related management obligations of applying resources as intended are being discharged. Little environmental management activity is evident within marine protected areas.
(In May, 2010, The Auditor General also found that Control of Invasive Plants and Animals in Victoria's Parks was complicated, poorly coordinated, and poorly administered. Click here for more on this.)

Nearly half of all national and state park management plans are over a decade old.

10 year old strategy never completed, now expired

The statewide management strategy has neither been fully implemented nor evaluated before expiring in 2010. An absence of regular risk assessment review, detailed action plans and a lack of evaluation—both of management plans and activities—undermine planning at the park level. There were also gaps identified in the Department of Sustainability and Environments lead role in marine environmental policy and marine pest biosecurity.

In common with our 2010 performance audit, Control of Invasive Plants and Animals in Victoria's Parks, this audit points to systemic weaknesses with park planning, program management and resource allocation that should be addressed.

You can read the very readable, short, concise,