Great news! We’ve had a real breakthrough. Our marine parks and sanctuaries are back in the Federal Budget. The Government has committed to a timeframe and money to get them in place on the water and, importantly, they have recognised our national network of marine parks as ‘the gold standard’ in marine conservation.
This is entirely thanks to the overwhelming community support and hard work of people right around Australia – THANK YOU!
It’s the first solid sign that the Turnbull Government is serious about getting our marine parks in place, with a commitment to complete the network within the next 12 months. And therefore the first indication of a bipartisan commitment to sanctuaries.
It’s important to remember, however, that if the national network Labor delivered in 2012 had not been suspended by the Abbott Government, our parks would have been in place for the past two years – providing resilience against devastating coral bleaching (sanctuaries are shown to help reefs recover), and providing certainty to communities around Australia.
The fact remains the Government has not yet revealed the details of its review, and we understand that crucial sanctuaries such as in our Coral Sea – the cradle to the Great Barrier Risk – are still at great risk.
I’m writing this from Parliament House where we will be meeting with the Government to find out more about the funds allocated in the Budget, which is almost half the amount previously committed by Labor. We need to explore further whether this will be adequate to cover the costs needed to put our national network in place and provide certainty to local communities.
This Government announcement is a HUGE step forwards, and your support has provided the strength and power to make it happen. It’s crucial we now keep up the pressure on ALL parties in the lead up to the election to ensure our precious marine life receives the protection it deserves.