UPDATE Council Advocacy on Proposed Marine Park

Published on Thursday, 7 September 2023 at 2:56:00 PM

Council continues to advocate towards a balanced outcome for the proposed South Coast Marine Park for the community, one that realises the huge potential this State government project could bring to the region.

6 September – The Shire President Ian Mickel received a written response from the DBCA, dated 21 August 2023. It was acknowledged that a verbal update was provided along with revised rational report and accompanying proposed draft zoning maps. The report and map received are clearly marked with “Confidential” and “Not for Distribution”, therefore has been kept in confidence and is not able to be shared or discussed. During this phone meeting the Shire President was also informed that the Department for Environment Regional Director position in the Esperance Office has been filled on an Acting basis by a Goldfields staff member until the role is permanently filled.

We have been advised “The original candidate areas have been substantially refined to minimise impacts to commercial and recreational fishers whilst still conserving the area’s important biodiversity and cultural values.” DBCA will notify the Shire and provide a briefing prior to the commencement of the public submission period on the indicative joint management plans and zoning arrangements, once approved by the Minister for Environment with concurrence from the Ministers for Fisheries and Mines and Petroleum.

Our concerns regarding the timing of compensation were acknowledged, with advice on the process. “DPIRD is best placed to provide more information about likely timeframes for the compensation process for the PSCMP, however, I envisage the earliest that affected license holders may be able to apply for compensation would be mid-2025.

Contact details for mental health services were also provided. If you are feeling overwhelmed please, please reach out and talk to someone.

Lifeline – 13 11 14 lifelineorg.au

Beyond Blue – 1300 224 636 beyondblue.org.au

Rurallink – 1800 552 002


Since the announcement of the proposed South Coast Marine Park in 2021, Councillors and staff have attended the public meetings held for the community by DBCA and have received Council briefings. Councillors and staff have heard a wide range of views and received information on potential positive and negative impacts from community members, organisations and businesses. They are aware of and appreciate the variety of opinions across different segments of our community, and are determined to use every avenue to influence for the best possible outcome.

Council and the Shire believe an asset of this magnitude, having permanent impacts on the community and businesses of the region, should not be quickly whacked in on the cheap.

The State government must commit to best-practice research and planning, and genuine, informed consultation.

Without access to the data, scientific research and evidence and the Socio-economic Assessment, reactions to the upcoming public consultation on the proposed park risk being purely emotionally based. Meaningful consultation will only result if respondents have the relevant information available and can submit well rounded observations, reflecting their opinions of the facts presented and carrying the varying emotion of a heavily invested community.


Planning and design of the park needs to be adequately resourced and considered thoughtfully to fulfil many functions; delivering sustainable fishing and tourism business opportunities, safeguarding our precious environment, and allowing continued access to all the recreational activities enjoyed along our coast.

With authentic commitment from the State government this is achievable.

Our community as a whole want to preserve the marine environment; we live here and this is our future. Done right, consulted right, the proposed South Coast Marine Park could be a hugely positive development for our community. Done wrong, long standing viable businesses will be forced to close, tourism from recreational fishing will cease, and the community will be barred from recreational pursuits they have enjoyed for generations.

Council and the Shire will continue to advocate for the proposed park to be planned correctly so the potential for a brilliant outcome, with far reaching benefits for our environment, community, businesses and tourism, is realised.



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