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A review of Australian approaches for monitoring, assessing and reporting estuarine condition: III. Evaluation against international best practice and recommendations for the future

Hallett, Chris S., Valesini, Fiona, Elliott, Mike
Environmental science & policy 2016 v.66 pp. 282-291
estuaries, governance, laws and regulations, models, monitoring, Australia
In this final component of a three-part review, we present a national synthesis and evaluation of approaches for monitoring, assessing and reporting estuarine condition across Australia. Progress is evaluated against objective criteria that together provide a model of international best practice. We critically assess the limitations, inconsistencies and gaps that are evident across Australian jurisdictions, and identify common obstacles to future progress. Major strengths and successes are also highlighted, together with specific examples of best practice from around Australia that are transferable to other States and beyond. Significant obstacles to greater national coordination of monitoring and reporting practices include inconsistent spatial scales of management, pluralistic governance structures and the lack of any overarching legislation. Nonetheless, many perceptible advances have been made over the last decade across Australia in estuarine monitoring and health assessment, and there is great potential for further progress. Finally, we provide a list of recommendations to address some of the most pressing limitations and gaps, and support improved future monitoring, assessment and reporting for Australian estuaries.