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Josh Frydenberg - Liberal for Kooyong
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Marine park draft management plans released

Published: Friday, 21 July 2017

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The Director of National Parks has today released draft plans to establish a world-class management program for Australia’s marine parks in Commonwealth waters.

This independent consultation is part of the Coalition Government’s commitment to delivering a well-managed marine park estate which balances various needs and uses such as fishing, tourism, conservation and Indigenous use. 

These draft plans cover Commonwealth waters off the coast of New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory. Australian Marine Parks are in waters that start at the outer edge of state and territory waters, generally no less than three nautical miles (5.5 km) from the shore extending 200 nautical miles (about 370 km) from the shore to the outer boundary of Australia’s exclusive economic zone.   

With 36 per cent of waters around Australia covered by marine parks, we have surpassed the United Nations target of 10 per cent. Our level is more than many other countries with significant marine jurisdictions such as the France, Canada, Mexico and Chile.  

The boundaries of Australian Marine Parks will not change. Instead, the Director has used a targeted zoning approach to allow sustainable activities like commercial fishing while protecting key conservation features. 

This is a much more balanced, scientific approach than those previously undertaken for marine parks. These plans protect what needs to be protected, without negatively impacting communities and our country’s economy. This is a result of the Coalition Government’s commitment to consult thoroughly with the communities who live near, care for and work on our oceans.  

Working together we need to manage our oceans as the shared resource they are – to protect the environment, support our world-leading sustainable fishing industry, promote tourism and provide benefits back to our coastal communities who rely on our oceans for their livelihoods.

Compared to 2012, the draft plans:

  • Increase the number of ecological features covered by habitat protection zones that protect the sea floor from 192 to 265, an almost 40 per cent increase.
  • Increase from 60 per cent to 63 per cent the area under high-level green and yellow zone protection covering sites of ecological significance, including Coral Sea reefs and the Bremer Canyon.
  • Halve the economic impact on commercial fishers compared with 2012, a reduction from $8.2 million to $4.1 million a year, which is less than 0.3 per cent of total income generated by Australia’s wild catch fisheries.
  • Increase the total area of the reserves open to fishing from 64 per cent to 80 per cent.

The draft plans would make 97 per cent of waters within 100 kilometres of the coast open for recreational fishing and also enable a continued Australian tuna fishing industry based out of northern Queensland.
To reduce any impacts on commercial fishers, the Australian Government will make funding available to assist those directly affected. 

The Government encourages everyone interested in managing our marine environment to contribute in the next 60 days to the consultation process. 

Once the community has had a chance to review these draft plans, the Director of National Parks will finalise and submit them to the Government for review and tabling in Parliament. 

The Federal Government has committed $56.1 million over four years to fund the management of Australian Marine Parks.

The draft plans can be accessed at:

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