This election, tens of thousands of ocean lovers around Australia have written to their local MPs and candidates, asking them to commit to fully restoring our suspended National Network of Marine Parks and Sanctuaries without further delay.
There’s been incredible community support. Scientists, fishers, 100 dive operators and more than 1000 businesses have spoken out, all with a united message: Marine sanctuaries are good for marine life. They help ensure fish for the future. They help reefs to recover from coral bleaching. And they’re good for local business and tourism.
Together we’ve made huge progress to restore our sanctuaries. And our work to ban the Supertrawler from Australian waters has moved closer to an outcome, thanks to overwhelming support around the country. This is where the main parties stand on both issues:
The Liberal National Coalition
In the 2016/17 Budget, the Coalition committed to making new ‘world class’ management plans operational by July 2017, based on recommendations from the Review (which has not yet been released), and allocating $56.1m over four years for implementation and management.
However this is, at best, half what is needed to fully restore our National Network, and is therefore an indication that our sanctuaries – including Australia’s largest marine sanctuary, in the Coral Sea – remain at great risk.
The Coalition has made no commitment to a ban on Supertrawlers, other than the few largest ones over 130m long. The 95m Geelong Star/Dirk Dirk Supertrawler, approved early in 2015, continues to fish in Australian waters.
The Australian Labor Party
Labor has committed to fully restoring the Network and its sanctuaries, with $103.8m over four years for implementation and management.
On the Supertrawler, Labor states that it cannot foresee a circumstance in which Labor would approve Supertrawler access.
The Australian Greens
The Greens have committed to fully restoring the Network and its sanctuaries immediately, with $136.5m committed over four years for implementation and management.
On the Supertrawler, the Greens have committed to a permanent ban on Supertrawlers in Australian waters.
No matter who wins the election on Saturday, the next year will be crucial to get our marine parks in place on the water – to protect our marine life and end the continued uncertainty for local businesses.
Thanks to your support, we’ve made incredible progress, and we will continue our work until Australia’s world-leading National Network of Sanctuaries is restored, and the Supertrawler is permanently banned from Australian waters.
Written and authorised by Christabel Mitchell, 4/145 Melbourne St, South Brisbane, QLD 4101