With generational change, social media growth and increasing evidence of coastal and marine impacts, societal expectations of environmental research and management are changing. There is increasing recognition of marine and coastal environments as complex socio-ecological systems; stakeholders and communities, especially Traditional Owners, need to be active participants, and increasingly, industries need assistance to maintain their social licence to operate. The Marine and Coastal (MAC) Hub will build on 15 years of achievements in NESP and precursor programs (CRCs, MTSRF/CERF and NERP) to deliver high-quality research that improves environmental, social, and economic outcomes for marine and coastal Australia, using a proven approach that is stakeholder-driven, co-designed, and highly collaborative.
The overall governance of the Marine and Coastal Hub will be administered by the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre (Northern Node) and the University of Tasmania (Southern Node). The governance arrangements will include several components to ensure effective oversight by the Department, inclusion of Indigenous interests, cross-Hub representation, research partner and regional end-user engagement. This includes:
· A single Hub Steering Committee, with a single independent chair (Mr Tim Moltmann), and representation from the nodes, Department and key stakeholders. The Hub Steering Committee provides strategic direction for the activities and research conducted by the hub. The roles, responsibilities and membership of the Steering Committee are outlined in its terms of reference.
· Contribution to a Cross-Hub Senior Governance Committee, with a key role to have oversight of the Program activities across all hubs; agree to mission deliverables, and identify opportunities for cross-hub collaboration through the missions.
· Contribution to a cross-hub Indigenous Facilitation Network, with the key roles to ensure Indigenous participation in the performance of all of the hubs’ respective activities; have oversight of the Indigenous Partnerships Strategy, to assist in the identification of Indigenous research needs, and assist in the identification, consultation, free prior informed consent, and appropriate use of ICIP.
· A Hub Leadership Team that will provide advice to the Steering Committee on research plans, particularly regarding the balance of strategic and tactical research and between national and regional projects, and review project milestones and risks. and governance matters to the Department on an ongoing/needs basis.
· Regional Reference Groups involving key regional end users and Hub partners, with the number and structure of these groups likely to vary between northern and southern nodes.
· Multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional teams from the following research institutions: CSIRO; Australian Institute of Marine Science; Integrated Marine Observing System; Deakin University; University of Wollongong; University of NSW; Museums Victoria; Bureau of Meteorology; Geoscience Australia; Macquarie University, University of Queensland; Griffith University, Central Queensland University; James Cook University, Charles Darwin University, Murdoch University, Edith Cowan University; University of Adelaide; Flinders University, University of South Australia; South Australian Museum; SARDI; Sydney Institute of Marine Science, University of Western Australia and Bioplatforms Australia. Other research institutions may be included where their expertise is relevant to emerging priorities.
· In addition to Australia’s research agencies, the Hub will have an unprecedented level of engagement with over 40 Traditional Owner groups across the country- bringing traditional ecological knowledge to the forefront of protected area management through traditional owner led research and co-designed research.