The Federal Government has announced that the consultation period on the draft management plans for the recently proclaimed Commonwealth marine reserves has closed.

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke said the close of the consultation period marks the end of one of the Government’s most extensive public engagement processes.

"The Government has conducted an extensive public consultation and planning process that has helped shape the development of the Commonwealth marine reserve networks and their management plans,” Mr Burke said.

"Over the past few years we have held more than 250 meetings – many of which I have attended myself – and received more than 680,000 submissions on the reserves and the management plans.

"This final public comment period is the fifth round of public consultation on the marine reserves over the past four years and the second one related specifically to their management.

Mr Burke said there had been calls for the public comment closing date to be extended for people affected by the recent floods and natural disasters in eastern Australia.

"While the deadline for public comments to the Director of National Parks will remain midnight on 14 February, I will accept and consider comments made by those affected by natural disasters that are provided by 28 February.

"I will consider these comments in parallel with advice from the Director of National Parks on the issues raised during the statutory public comment period as part of finalising the management plans."

An online web form will be established for flood and other natural disaster affected members of the public to provide their comments.

People can access this online form after midnight tonight by going