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Between the devil and the deep blue sea: the information and research needs of Australia's coastal managers
Brown, V.A.; Burke, G. (1993). Between the devil and the deep blue sea: the information and research needs of Australia's coastal managers, in: (1994). Australia's coastal resources [CD-ROM]: the complete documentation from the Resource Assessment Commission's coastal zone inquiry. pp. iv, 120
In: (1994). Australia's coastal resources [CD-ROM]: the complete documentation from the Resource Assessment Commission's coastal zone inquiry. Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMTI), Ressource Assessment Commission (RAC): Melbourne. ISBN 0864443528. 1 cd-rom pp., more

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Brown, V.A.
  • Burke, G.

Abstract
    This study of information and research needs of the managers of Australia's coastal resources is based on evidence from:* pilot interviews with 10 information providers;* a series of 90 in-depth interviews with managers of coastal areas in each State;* a survey on the needs of coastal managers for social, economic, environmental and management information and research, with 1099 respondents; and* a workshop for 50 coastal managers.The study examines the coastal managers' communication systems within and between six types of organisation (Local, State and Commonwealth Government, conservation, industry and academic organisations) and six areas of work (management, environment, education, industry/finance, engineering, and elected office). The findings identify the strategic influences which different management sectors exert on the communication process; and the competing information priorities between different work areas. Each sector and area of work tends to form a closed communication system. The inadequacy of existing information transfer to meet coastal managers’ needs justifies a restructure of local, State and national information management in all work areas.Coastal managers in the study report serious impediments to their work from:- lack of a shared identity among coastal area managers;- absence of a common framework for integrating social, economic, environmental and management information;- inadequate local management information; - no clear locus of responsibility for information supply in each of the three government sectors; and- ineffective information services.Identified as urgently needed is a coordinated national information strategy:- moving away from the current structure of information management as a centralised system, dominated by specialised occupations and research interests, isolating information within management sectors; and separating social, economic and environmental information collections; - towards a national information management system, based on coordination of and translation between existing information collections; and a management-selected research base, networked regionally through the use of modern information technology.Study participants identify the following as the basis of an effective, integrated information management system:* A core set of information drawn from management, social, economic and environment spheres; accessible to all managers at the local scale. - The top six priority items identified as most important by all management sectors and all work areas are (full list in table attached):- Environmental impact assessments- Community priorities for coastal areas- Strategic plans- Benefits and costs of recreation and tourism- Condition of ecosystems, habitats and species- Condition of rivers, oceans and estuaries.* Three-way communication channels between key sectors:- Local Government - State - Commonwealth agencies;- Government - conservation - industry organisations;- Coastal managers - social, economic and environmental databases - management-initiated research.* Supporting services for an integrated coastal information management system:- In-service programs on information management for current managers; - Regional facilitators acting as skilled integrators of information;- Audits of decision-making in key management sectors;- Regional telecentres set up on a national grid.

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