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Commonwealth Marine Reserves

August 02, 2017

Federal Labor is committed to the sustainable management of Australia’s marine resources and we are a strong defender and manager of our oceans and those who use them.

The Government’s recently released plans to wind back protections in our oceans are even worse than we feared. The draft management plans make Australia the only country in the world that is winding back its protections for the ocean.

Labor put the world’s largest network of marine parks in place in 2013, protecting over 2.3 million square kilometers of our oceans. The network includes natural wonders such as the Coral Sea and Perth Canyon.  It was based on the latest science and extensive community consultation. 

When Tony Abbott got in to power he put these plans on hold. Now Malcolm Turnbull’s government is directly attacking them. 

The Coral Sea was the jewel in the crown of Labor’s network. The Government’s proposed scheme for the Coral Sea halves the area placed in Marine National Parks. Reefs such as Marion Reef and Osprey Reef, one of the top dive sites in the world, has had protections stripped away. Devastatingly, Shark Reef and Vema Reef have been taken out of the Marine National Park area altogether.

Midwater trawling is to be reintroduced and will be now be possible for longlining to start at the southern tip of the Coral Sea reserve and continue all the way to the northern boundary.

No Government has ever taken this many hectares out of conservation before. It’s the largest step backwards in areas under conservation in history.

Labor will not stand by and see our precious oceans attacked. We won't allow any backwards steps on ocean protection. Where the Government’s network improves conservation we will add these areas to our network, where it removes protection we will fight against those changes.