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Gov’t establishes review committee for marine admin policy

Gov’t establishes review committee for marine admin policy

The government has recently approved the re-establishment of a Technical Review Committee it says will advise the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour on all matters regarding the sustainable development of the coastline, seabed and marine estate.

In a statement issued yesterday, the government said the committee will be responsible for the administration of a Marine Estate Administration Policy approved in 2020.

This policy, the government said, will govern the issuance of leases and licences for the use of the seabed by the ministry.

The move comes in the wake of recommendations from the Commission of Inquiry (COI) report issued months ago, and a subsequent framework agreement between the government and the United Kingdom (UK) on how those reform recommendations will be implemented.

According to the government, the reform process to dispose of Crown land as part of the implementation of recommendation B30 formally began on July 31. It also noted that many of the reform initiatives were part of a broader process of reassessing and modernising the policy and operational framework of the Ministry.

In the COI report issued by Commissioner Sir Gary Hickinbottom in April, recommendation B30 stated that there should be a wholesale review of processes for the disposal of Crown land to ensure that such disposals are the subject of an open and transparent process.

Technical Review Committee’s role

According to the statement, the Technical Review Committee will be responsible for, among other things, coordinating the formulation, implementation and public awareness of the government’s marine estate policy and any marine spatial plan and ensuring they are aligned with all national policies and strategies.

The Technical Review Committee will also be required to evaluate and consider for approval by the relevant subject minister, any project proposals for the use of the marine estate.

The statement further noted that the Technical Review Committee will be required to facilitate public consultation and cooperation between government agencies concerning any application for the development or use of the marine estate under the marine estate administration policy.

The committee will also develop and regularly update a new schedule of fees to give effect to the requirements of the marine estate administration policy, including development fees, which will aim to standardise how the government will charge for the use of the seabed.

In the meantime, the government said the Technical Review Committee is now an inter-governmental technical body responsible for vetting various applications for the use of the seabed.

The establishment of this committee, the government noted, also represents a significant contribution toward the reform processes for disposing Crown property, which satisfies recommendation B30.


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