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Josh Frydenberg - Liberal for Kooyong
  
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Senate supports world-leading marine park management plans

Published: Tuesday, 27 March 2018

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The Senate has today endorsed the Turnbull Government’s world-leading regime for 44 marine parks.

Despite Labor and the Greens trying to disallow these historic protections, the Senate voted 34 to 28 with the Government to deliver a balanced and scientific evidence-based approach to ocean protection.

Under these plans, 36 per cent of Australian waters are included in marine parks which is well ahead of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s “Aichi target” of 10 per cent by 2020 and a recent World Conservation Congress resolution, calling for 30 per cent by 2030.

Recognising the significant role the fishing industry plays in creating local jobs, these plans strike the right balance in protecting our oceans while providing certainty to this billion dollar industry.

Our support for the fishing industry in these plans has been warmly welcomed by tuna, prawn and other seafood producers around Australia whose livelihoods were put at risk by Labor’s plan.

The plans will also give recreational fishers access to 97 per cent of Commonwealth waters within 100 kilometres of the coast and 80 per cent of the marine park network.

By being more targeted with restrictions and integrating marine park management with world-class fisheries management, we have not only increased conservation protection, but also ensured regional economies are supported.

Key elements of the Turnbull Government’s plan compared to Labor’s proposed plans include:

  • An increase of 200,000 square kilometres in the area with sea floor protection.
  • A four per cent decrease in the total area of marine parks open to mining.
  • The protection of 509 conservation features (reefs and canyons), 344 in the highest levels of protection, compared to 331 in Labor’s plans.
  • 16 per cent more of the total area of parks will be open to recreational fishing which includes access to 97 per cent of Commonwealth waters within 100 kilometres of the coast. This reduces by 400,000 square kilometres the area from which Labor would have locked out Australia’s five million recreational fishers.
  • 17 per cent more of the total area of marine parks open to commercial fishing.

The Government has allocated $56 million to implement these plans, including funding for community engagement and science and an appropriate adjustment package which government will consult on.

The management plans are still subject to a disallowance period, however, today’s endorsement sends a clear message to Labor and the Greens that these plans are supported.

Under these plans, Australia will have world-class management of all marine parks in our oceans, starting from 1 July 2018. The plans can be found via www.parksaustralia.gov.au/marine.

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