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Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Coasts and marine, Australia

Service Provider Description
The National Oceans Office is a branch of the Marine Division of the Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH).The Office has lead responsibility for regional marine planning, a central element of Australia's Oceans Policy (1998).

Australia's Oceans Policy is an Australian Government initiative for the ecologically sustainable management of Australia's Exclusive Economic Zone, comprising more than 14 million square kilometres of ocean waters between 3 and 200 nautical miles from the coast. The Policy recognises the need to maintain the oceans ecosystem health. It also recognises that the promotion of strong, diverse and internationally competitive marine industries so important to national and regional economies depends on the long-term ecological sustainability of a wide range of ocean uses.

Following the announcement of the fourth Howard Ministry after the 2004 election, there were a number of changes to administrative arrangements for the implementation of Australia's Oceans Policy. The National Oceans Office, formerly an executive agency, was absorbed into DEH.As well, the former National Oceans Ministerial Board was dissolved, with the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, taking lead responsibility for Australia's Oceans Policy in consultation with Ministerial colleagues where required.

The National Oceans Advisory Group now provides advice on cross jurisdictional and cross sectoral issues and regional marine planning directly to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, rather than the Board.

Previously, in 2003, two other bodies were established to assist the further development and implementation of Australia's Oceans Policy. The Oceans Board of Management, chaired by the Secretary of the Department of the Environment and Heritage, comprises representatives from seven Australian Government departments and agencies relevant to Australia's marine jurisdiction. It was formed to provide high-level, whole-of-government advice on operational aspects of Australia's Oceans Policy and regional marine planning.

The Oceans Policy Science Advisory Group, comprising representatives of 18
Australian Government marine science and related agencies, as well as State
research institutions and non-government marine science interests, is tasked
with promoting coordination and information sharing between Government marine
science agencies and across the broader Australian marine science community.

[Summary provided by the National Oceans Office]
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