It’s been a whirlwind few months since the new year and we’re now so close to restoring our suspended National Network of Marine Sanctuaries (the world’s largest!). So we wanted to get in touch with a few highlights and to thank you our supporters around Australia for their support:
PROTECTING THE LAST SEA TREASURE
Following ten packed-out screenings around Australia, we just held the Melbourne premiere of The Last Sea Treasure, starring ocean legend Valerie Taylor, in Environment Minister Frydenberg’s local neighbourhood.
Our Coral Sea – the cradle to the Great Barrier Reef and one of the last wild places on Earth where ocean giants still thrive – is the most at risk from the Abbott-era review of our suspended National Network of Sanctuaries.
The Coral Sea also holds great historical significance for Australia and the United States of America – an ocean monument to those who fought to protect Australia’s borders and the region. 2017 marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea – one of the most critical naval battles that reversed the tide of World War II in the Pacific.
Thanks to everyone who came along and made the evening such a huge success. If you haven’t yet had the chance to watch The Last Sea Treasure, you can watch it here
SNOWBALLING SUPPORT FOR SANCTUARIES
Meanwhile, around the country, communities continue to take a stand for our sanctuaries – thousands of you have been writing to, emailing and visiting local MPs, and coming up with creative ways to keep the pressure on.
We’ve just returned from Parliament House, meeting with MPs and decision makers to make sure your voice is heard… AND IT’S WORKING! In back to back meetings, MPs have told us they’ve been hearing the level of concern among their constituents, and finding out how they can help restore our suspended National Network of Sanctuaries.
The timing could not be better! Thanks to your support, we’ve built huge momentum since former Prime Minister Tony Abbott suspended our sanctuaries – including a whopping 50,000 submissions towards the end of last year – and the Turnbull Government has committed to get the Network in place by July 2017.
But right now, Environment Minister Frydenberg is making big decisions about whether to accept or reject Abbott-era plans that have been released proposing massive cutbacks to marine sanctuaries in crucial hotspots around Australia. In order to get him to make a good decision, we need as many federal MPs to tell him this is what Australian voters – you! – want.
Thanks and please do keep up the great work, by making sure your MP knows we will not stop until our sanctuaries – in the Coral Sea, Lord Howe, Perth Canyon, Bremer Bay, the Great Australian Bight, the Kimberley and more – are saved.
GREAT KIMBERLEY MARINE PARK
Late last year, your support led to the creation of three new marine parks along the iconic Kimberley coast in north-west Australia: the extraordinary Horizontal Falls (described by David Attenborough as ‘one of the greatest natural wonders of the world’), the North Kimberley Marine Park – the biggest in WA, and Roebuck Bay – home to the charismatic snubfin dolphin.
That’s more than 500km of pristine coastline protected – one of the most significant achievements in conservation in Australia.
Now, thanks to the thousands who emailed, phoned, attended events and met with their MPs ahead of the Western Australian election, asking candidates to finish the job of protecting our Kimberley coast, we saw Kimberley election commitments from all sides of politics.
The outgoing Premier and Environment Minister described their work on protecting the Kimberley as one of their proudest achievements in Government. And the incoming Labor Government has committed to extending the Great Kimberley Marine Park into the Buccaneer Archipelago and reviewing the Roebuck Bay Marine Park plan which still contains no marine sanctuary.
Thank you to everyone who helped to make this happen. It’s been an incredible show of community support.
Following overwhelming community outrage, the Geelong Star Supertrawler – which killed protected dolphins, seals and even a whaleshark – was finally gone from Australian waters late last year.
Then in February this year, the Tasmanian Government permanently banned Supertrawlers from Tasmanian waters. Thank you for helping to make this happen.
Now it’s time for the Turnbull Government to finish the job and ban them in Federal waters. Together we’re continuing our work to ensure that NO foreign freezer factory trawlers can wreak havoc on our marine life, fisheries and fishing communities again.
KEEPING BIG OIL OUT OF THE BIGHT
Late last year, oil giant BP abandoned its plans to drill in the Great Australian Bight Marine Park – one of Australia’s biggest and most precious marine parks, home to crucial southern right whale and sea lion nurseries.
The current Senate Inquiry into oil in the Bight has been extended until May this year – we’ll be in touch with an update. Thanks to everyone who has spoken out, and great work by the Great Australian Bight Alliance who are leading the charge.