Today is #WorldOceansDay and a perfect time to begin our campaign that reflects on the insights and images from Victoria’s first State of Bays (SotB) report released by the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability in 2016 – featuring stunning underwater photography by Museums Victoria’s Dr Julian Finn from the report and award-winning interactive website.
The State of the Bays 2016 report is an historic baseline study of the health of Port Phillip Bay and Western Port in Victoria, Australia and the prelude to the inaugural State of the Marine and Coastal Environments report for Victoria, currently being prepared by the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability for release late 2021.
In Victoria, a pipeline of reforms has seen the commitment to monitoring the health of Victoria’s coasts, bays and waterways significantly increased. In 2014, the Andrews’ Government committed to “a five-yearly State of the Bays report to monitor the health of coasts, bays and waterways”. This commitment resulted in the first State of the Bays 2016 report for Victoria. The report was a stocktake of current knowledge on the health of the two bays around which 75% of Victoria’s population live, work and play during a period of sustained high levels of population and economic growth. The Marine and Coastal Act 2018 has since built on this momentum, legislating a commitment to better science, data and reporting on the health and management of Victoria’s marine and coastal environments.
The Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability and her team are now hard at work preparing the inaugural State of the Marine and Coastal Environment (SMCE) report for issue in late 2021. Since March 2020, more than 70 scientists across government, NGOs and academia have participated in online workshops as part of the extensive information gathering process ahead of broader consultation later in 2020. While the State of the Bays 2016 report covered two bays, Port Phillip and Western Port, the SMCE 2021 expands to five, also including the Gippsland Lakes, Corner Inlet and Victoria’s System of Marine National Parks and Sanctuaries and sets Victoria up to meet the legislated requirement for the first SMCE report on the whole State by Dec 2024.
Access the full SotB 2016 report.
Access the interpretative website.
Did you know that Victoria is one of only two jurisdictions in Australia (the other being the ACT) with an independent Commissioner charged with periodic State of the Environment reporting? Read about Victoria’s Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability.