Why are our new sanctuaries at risk?
The creation of the national network of marine sanctuaries has crossed political divides and received bi-partisan political support. It was initiated by John Howard’s Coalition Government in 1998, and finalised by the federal Labor Government in 2012.
Yet, in December 2013, the Abbott Government took the extraordinary step of suspending all new federal marine parks – erasing the plans that put their protective zoning in place. Tony Abbott ordered a ‘review’, saying that not enough science research or consultation has taken place.
This makes no sense. The ‘review’ is an expensive and unnecessary waste of time and money as there’s already been:
- 10 years of scientific assessment
- 606 days of consultation
- 221 leading scientists backed sanctuaries
- 750,000 public and stakeholder submissions, with 95% support
- $100 million allocated to compensate for less than 2% of commercial fish catch affected
This is Prime Minister Turnbull’s opportunity to end Abbott’s era of marine neglect. Let’s make sure they hear loud and clear that Australians want to see our sanctuaries restored as soon as possible.
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