Barunguba Montague Island Nature Reserve draft plan of management

The Barunguba Montague Island Nature Reserve draft plan of management public exhibition has closed.

Public exhibition of the draft plan provided an important opportunity for community members to have a say in the management of Barunguba Montague Island Nature Reserve. Once adopted, this plan of management will replace the existing plan for this park, which was adopted in 1995. Opportunities to comment closed 20 November 2023.

The Barunguba Montague Island Nature Reserve Draft Planning Considerations report accompanies the draft plan. It is recommended that readers of the plan refer to the planning considerations report for detailed explanations of the parks' values and management considerations.

The park is part of Yuin Country. It is located on Barunguba Montague Island, an island in the Tasman Sea, approximately 9 km south-east of Narooma on the Far South Coast of New South Wales.

Key objectives of this draft plan include:

  • protecting the natural environment – the island provides important habitat for nesting seabirds, including little penguins, Gould's petrels and white-faced storm-petrels.
  • looking after culture and heritage – the island has considerable Aboriginal and historic heritage values. The 2018 declaration of Barunguba Aboriginal Place recognises the island's importance as a very significant ceremonial area and a significant resource gathering place. It also recognises the special song lines connecting Barunguba Montague Island to the mainland, especially to Gulaga Mount Dromedary. Montague Island Lighthouse, the residences, gardens and graves demonstrate the island's rich maritime history.
  • providing for visitor use, public appreciation and enjoyment – the island is an attractive visitor destination. It is remote from development on the mainland, relatively wild, teeming with seabirds and marine life, and rich with Aboriginal and historic heritage. Visitation is carefully managed. Public visitation is restricted to visitors on authorised short-duration tours and a few pre-booked commercial overnight guests.

The draft plan proposes adjusting the number of visitors allowed on the island. These adjustments are necessary to protect the island's natural and cultural values against the impacts associated with the movement of people on the island during peak periods and to improve the experience enjoyed by visitors by avoiding periods of overcrowding. It is also necessary to ensure that park infrastructure provided for visitors continues to operate effectively.

Parks and reserves established under the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 need to have a plan of management. The plan includes information on important park values and provides directions for future management. Once the plan is adopted, no management operations can be undertaken in the park unless they are consistent with the plan.

The current plan of management was adopted in 1995, and many things have changed since then. The draft plan responds to these changes and new information about the park's values and management considerations.

At the end of the public exhibition period, submissions received on the draft plan will be provided to the South Coast Regional Advisory Committee and the National Parks and Wildlife Advisory Council. These advisory bodies will consider the draft plan and the submissions and may provide advice to the Minister for the Environment.

The Minister considers the draft plan of management, submissions and advice, makes any necessary changes and decides whether to adopt the plan under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974. Once a plan is adopted, it is published on the department's website, and key stakeholders, including those who made a submission on the draft plan, will be notified.