University Of Tasmania

File(s) under permanent embargo

The social licence to operate and its role in marine governance: insights from Australia

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 03:12 authored by Coco Cullen-KnoxCoco Cullen-Knox, Marcus HawardMarcus Haward, Julia Jabour, Emily OgierEmily Ogier, Sean TraceySean Tracey
Traditionally, the ‘social licence to operate’ (SLO) refers to the societal expectations imposed on corporate and commercial activities, often displayed by the willingness for corporations to go beyond the requirements of formal regulations. Alternatively, this paper investigates the emerging influence of the SLO in shaping government decisions regarding the use and impact of the marine environment and its resources. Using expert interviews, text analysis and case study analysis, this research delineated the contemporary SLO as it has manifested in Australian marine governance, with the results indicating that this is potentially occurring at a pace faster than can be systematically reacted to within the current political decision-making processes. Under these emerging conditions, the risk has been identified that traditional government decision-making and stakeholder consultation processes are lagging in their capacity to adapt to ensure that public policy processes can support and engage in this shifting dialogue and ensure the influence of information is appropriately weighted. This research highlights an emerging adjustment of community presence in marine governance and the immediate complexities and challenges this creates for government decision-making. In particular, it begins to explore the interaction of differing information, how this information is carried through communication channels, stakeholder behaviour, approaches to withholding or granting a SLO and the responsibility this carries.


Publication title

Marine Policy








Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Elsevier Sci Ltd

Place of publication

The Boulevard, Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxford, England, Oxon, Ox5 1Gb

Rights statement

Copyright 2017 Elsevier Ltd.

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in human society

Usage metrics