BUNBURY and the South West needs an “insurance policy” on its pristine coastline and healthy marine life if we are to hang onto our reputation as an attractive tourist destination.
This was the message delivered by a group of business owners who visited Federal member for Forrest Nola Marino’s Bunbury office on Friday, presenting her with a “statement of concern” about the future of marine sanctuaries.
The national network of marine sanctuaries was created in 2012, but the Abbott Government set the protective zoning aside in 2013 and ordered a review.
Two hundred businesses from across the South West have joined forces to call for an end to delays in getting the parks underway.
Their joint statement highlighted the flow-on benefits of marine sanctuaries for local jobs and economic growth, citing the region’s world-renowned reputation for “pristine beaches, crystal clear waters and extraordinary marine life.”
The plan was to convince Mrs Marino to take their concerns to federal environment minister Greg Hunt.
Australia’s South West chief executive officer Jasmine Meagher said before the government’s current review, trawlers and gillnets were removed from Geographe Bay, significantly boosting its future as a recreational fishing destination.
Dolphin Discovery Centre general manager David Kerr said tourists travelled to the region to experience the unspoilt coastline and unique marine life.
“Marine sanctuaries act as an insurance policy for the oceans and add to its appeal as a tourist destination,” Mr Kerr said.
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“As a small business owner I know that without healthy marine life, businesses will suffer.”