Why are our sanctuaries at risk?
The creation of Australia’s Network of Marine Sanctuaries 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 2013, the former Abbott Government took the extraordinary step of suspending all 44 new federal marine parks – erasing the plans that put their protective zoning in place.
Now, the Coalition Government’s 2018 plans for our National Network of Sanctuaries have passed through parliament – robbing our marine parks of nearly half their sanctuary protection our oceans so desperately need.
The cuts to marine icons around Australia are equivalent to removing every second national park on land, including one of Australia’s oldest sanctuaries at Lord Howe Island, a massive area off Ningaloo and the Kimberley, and worst hit – the Coral Sea – the cradle to the Great Barrier Reef and one of the last places on Earth where ocean giants still thrive.
The Coalition Government ignored decades of science, the advice of their own independent review, the pleas of local communities, and the voice of hundreds of thousands of Australians who have been consulted over the years.
Together, let’s make sure that ALL sides of politics hear loud and clear that Australians want to see our sanctuaries fully restored – so they can do the job of protecting our marine life and coastal communities at a time when our oceans need them most.
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