In December 1998, the Howard Government released Australia's Oceans Policy, a major initiative focused at providing a framework for implementing integrated ecosystem based management of Australia's vast marine domain. This thesis utilises a policy community approach to review the processes and institutions that led to the development of Australia's Oceans Policy. It argues that despite significant policy change affected by both external and domestic policy drivers, a key element in shaping responses to the policy has been stability within the policy community shaped paradoxically by 'offshore federalism' that has made it difficult to implement a fully integrated oceans policy. Analysis of the development and implementation of the Australia's Oceans Policy indicates that change to ocean related policies embodied in the policy framework have been driven by several interrelated factors. These include debates over appropriate management of resources within and between sectoral groups; coordination of marine resource management between state and Commonwealth governments; and Commonwealth commitments to international instruments. New institutional arrangements established by Australia's Oceans Policy such as the National Oceans Office, National Oceans Ministerial Board, National Oceans Advisory Group and Regional Marine Plan Steering Committees, reflect a commitment towards integrated ocean management but at the same time confront the legal and jurisdictional framework established following a quarter century of 'offshore federalism'.