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A stakeholder analysis of Macquarie Island : identifying opportunities and constraints, and facing the future

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Parnell, J 2007 , 'A stakeholder analysis of Macquarie Island : identifying opportunities and constraints, and facing the future', Honours thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

Macquarie Island (MI) is a remote oceanic island located half way between Tasmania and Antarctica. It falls under the jurisdiction of Tasmania and is managed by the State as a restricted nature reserve. MI has been recognised internationally as a world heritage area and biosphere reserve, and at the national level it has been placed on the Register of the National Estate. The management regime for MI is complex, reflecting an elaborate regulatory framework typical of a protected area in Australia's federal system. Central to this regime is the newly revised Macquarie Island Nature Reserve and World Heritage Area Management Plan (MINR Plan) that came into effect in 2006.
MI has a multitude of stakeholders borne from the management regime, historical and contemporary context of human use, and environmental movement. Stakeholders are defined by their ability to influence, or be influenced by the management regime. Their power, legitimacy and urgency in terms of management decisions and practices form the basis for stakeholder relations and are central to this research.
MI is on the cusp of an uncertain future. There has been a recent shift in the relationship between key stakeholders as their interests have changed to reflect new priorities and fiscal realities. This research utilises the theoretical conceptual framework of stakeholder analysis to determine the power to influence and capacity to lead of stakeholders, and their knowledge and values. This is followed by an analysis of stakeholder characteristics in relation to conservation and human use management outlined in the MINR Plan, and four topical issues that may significantly influence management practices and Ml's future.
The research aims to determine the effectiveness of the Plan in its implementation and discuss its feasibility and relevancy, and consider the management implications of the four topical issues. Finally, the opportunities, constraints and future prospects for MI are considered from the perspective of stakeholders.
The research found that management decisions and practices implemented under the Plan are undermined by the lack of effective consultation between stakeholders. An inclusive forum does not exist and therefore less powerlul stakeholders do not have access to definitive stakeholders. The lack of consultation prevents information transfer and weakens support for management decisions and practices. Furthermore, the management authority is under resourced and unable to effectively consult with other stake holders or fully implement the Plan. It also lacks the capacity lead and consequently many of the issues emerging from the implementation process remain unresolved.
The analysis and discussion highlights the failures inherent in Ml's management regime. The informal domination by the Commonwealth gives it greater influence over management decisions and practices. This position is strengthened further as the State is reliant on the Commonwealth for logistical resources. This unusual situation has resulted in a great deal of conflict, which underpins intergovernmental relations.
In addition, there is a great deal of mistrust between stakeholders due to the uncertainty surrounding the availability of logistical resources. This uncertainty has prevented a number of stakeholders from developing strategic long term plans. Moreover, decision making within the management regime lacks transparency and stake holders have become disillusioned with the current approach to management.
Stakeholders are in agreement that effective management can be achieved if an independent approach that is inclusive of stakeholders and their interests is adopted. Such an approach may resolve some of the uncertainty surrounding the intentions of the Commonwealth, thus allowing others stake holders to plan strategically. It would also improve consultation, augment authority and resources, and promote transparent decision making. The focus could therefore shift from the many problems that surround management decisions and practices to the perusal of a collective and assured future.

Item Type: Thesis - Honours
Authors/Creators:Parnell, J
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Copyright © 2007 the author

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