Save Our Marine Life
Save Our Marine Life

Marine conservation experts welcome Labor commitment to restore marine parks

Aug 22, 2018News

The Save Our Marine Life alliance has welcomed the announcement from the Australian Labor Party that they would reinstate the 2012 zoning of Australia’s Marine Park protections, if they take government after the next federal election.

“We welcome Labor’s commitment to expand our current marine protections, which will allow us to collectively work towards restoring Australia’s status as a world leader on ocean protections,” said Michelle Grady from Pew Charitable Trusts on behalf of the Save Our Marine Life campaign.

“These plans will provide incredibly important and necessary protections to a number of important reefs, seamounts, canyons and an array of unique and diverse marine plants and animals around Australia’s vast coastline.”

“This is the political leadership that we desperately need to build further upon the current protection and ensure that Australia can work towards a truly world class network of marine parks and protections,” said Ms Grady.

“The science is very clear on this. You need to have marine parks with enough sanctuary zones as the engine room to ensure conservation and economic outcomes are actually realised. Sanctuary zones protect important feeding and breeding grounds and protect areas of Australia’s valuable fish stocks and iconic marine life. These zones also directly benefit the economy, particularly within regional areas, with tourism and fishing depending on the preservation and promotion of healthy and thriving environments.”

“We will continue to work with all Australians, as well as all sides of politics, to advocate and campaign for the greater protection that our marine life needs,” she concluded.

Background/timeline:

  • In November 2012 the Australian Government (under Labor) made history by declaring the world’s largest network of 44 marine parks and sanctuaries to protect the most biodiverse waters on the planet.
  • The new marine parks network covered 3.2 million square kilometres from the cool temperate waters of the South-West to the tropical waters of the Coral Sea. Marine icons like the Coral Sea, Lord Howe Island, Geographe Bay, the Kimberley, the Gulf of Carpentaria and Great Australian Bight were protected.
  • In July 2018, the Turnbull Government put Australia’s marine park network into operation on the water, but in the process slashed these initial plans, reducing the scale of protections by nearly half.
  • In August 2018, Shadow Minister for Environment Tony Burke announced that a future Labor Government would restore marine parks back to the proposed 2012 levels.
Marine sanctuaries at risk