AMSA is responsible, under the Navigation Act 2012, for maintaining a network of aids to navigation around Australia’s coastline assisting mariners to make safe and efficient passages. AMSA’s present network of 500 aids to navigation includes traditional lighthouses (like the Dent Island lighthouse), beacons, buoys, racons, Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) and Automatic Identification System (AIS) stations, broadcasting tide gauges and a current meter.
Technological developments in the area of vessel traffic management have also contributed to increase the safety of navigation and helped promote marine environment protection. AMSA, in partnership with Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ), has implemented a number of initiatives covering the Torres Strait and the inner shipping route of the Great Barrier Reef as part of the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait Coastal Vessel Traffic Service (REEFVTS).
7.1.1. Lighthouse performance standards
AMSA aims to meet international standards for the reliability of lighthouses set by the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA). The Dent Island light is designated as an IALA Availability Category 2 aid to navigation, which means that it has an availability target of 99.0%.
7.1.2. Access to the lighthouse
One practical effect of this performance standard is that the operational equipment and structure of the light need to be kept in good repair by regular preventative maintenance, and that equipment that fails while in service is repaired quickly. Routine maintenance and emergency repairs are carried out by AMSA’s maintenance contractor. The contractor needs to have a reliable way to get access to the site for this work, and AMSA officers also need access for occasional inspections of the site including for auditing of the contractor’s performance.
Service personnel coming to the lighthouse generally travel via the nearby Hamilton Island airport. Since the golf course has been developed, people attending the lighthouse have had convenient access, with the help of Hamilton Island staff, by ferry and car. Previously a visit required a helicopter, or access by sea.
7.2. AMSA Heritage Strategy
The AMSA Heritage Strategy 2005–2008 is currently being reviewed and updated. In its present form, the strategy provides for close cooperation with other agencies including the GBRMPA. It sets out the procedures that AMSA will follow to meet its obligations under the EPBC Act.
7.3. Great Barrier Reef Heritage Strategy
The Great Barrier Reef Heritage Strategy is currently being reviewed and updated. The current strategy states that any action the GBRMPA or its lessees might take that is likely to impact on the heritage values of a Commonwealth Heritage place will be consistent with the Commonwealth Heritage management principles. This heritage management plan is intended to be consistent with these principles and aims to identify, protect, conserve, present and transmit to all generations the heritage values of the place.
7.4. Other plans and management considerations
In addition, the use of the lightstation is covered under several existing management controls. These include Commonwealth Island zoning, the leases and permit requirements. Ongoing consultation with the private lessee takes place as part of these controls to ensure any new proposals for use or pressures on the precinct are addressed through the appropriate management framework. The Great Barrier Reef Heritage Strategy includes a dispute resolution process to deal with works proposals that might impact on heritage values. Early consultation with the Heritage and Wildlife Division in the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Populations and Communities in the planning stage of proposals can assist with assessments of likely impacts on the heritage values of the place. These matters are expanded upon in this document’s conservation policies.
7.5. Statutory requirements
7.5.1. Commonwealth legislation
This heritage management plan has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of the EPBC Act and the EPBC Regulations, and with consideration for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 (GBRMP Act) the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations 1983, the Navigation Act 2012 and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority Act 1990.
The main object of GBRMP Act is to provide for the long term protection and conservation of the environment, biodiversity and heritage values of the Great Barrier Reef Region.
The EPBC Act requires the GBRMPA and AMSA to prepare management plans that satisfy the obligations included in the EPBC Regulations. The principal features that a management plan must provide are:
A description of the place, its heritage values, their condition and the method used to assess its significance;
An array of conservation policies that protect and manage the place;
An implementation plan; and
The ways that the policies will be monitored and how the management plan will be reviewed.
7.5.2. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park zoning
Under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Zoning Plan 2003, part of Dent Island is designated a Commonwealth Islands Zone and may be used or entered without permission for low impact (non-extractive) activities; photography, filming, sound recording, traditional use of marine resources, and limited educational programs. All other activities require written permission. The waters surrounding Dent Island are designated a Habitat Protection (Dark Blue) Zone. The Dent Island Lightstation Heritage Management Plan is consistent with the objectives of the Commonwealth Islands Zone to ensure minimal environmental impact.
7.5.3. State legislation
The whole of the lightstation and its setting are owned by the Commonwealth, so the place is not entered in the Queensland Heritage Register and the (State) Queensland Heritage Act 1992 does not apply.
7.5.4. GBRMPA management requirements and agency mechanisms
Heritage management considerations and principles have been incorporated within the GBRMPA’s administration of the Marine Park. The GBRMPA Board has included heritage matters within the GBRMPA Corporate Plan 2011–2014. In this regard, the GBRMPA adopted the following objectives to adhere to legislative, regulatory and reporting requirements, including heritage obligations.
The GBRMPA has several mechanisms in place to ensure appropriate implementation of heritage management plans. In addition to the Dent Island Lightstation Heritage Management Plan, conservation of heritage values are managed through:
Commonwealth Islands zoning, permits and impact assessment requirements
policies relating to the protection and values of Dent Island
lease requirements for the protection of heritage values.