Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Protecting Australia's unique marine life

Media release
10 May 2011

The Gillard Government will invest $9.7 million for the management of proposed marine reserves and bioregional plans being developed to protect Australia's marine life for future generations.

Environment Minister Tony Burke said the Government would continue to deliver its 2010 election commitment by working with communities to develop marine bioregional plans.

"Finding room for this funding in a responsible Budget shows the strength of the Government's commitment to ongoing management of Australia's marine environment," Mr Burke said.

“For generations Australians have understood the need to preserve special areas of land as national parks but our oceans contain many iconic, precious and fragile sites which deserve protection too.

"Australia has the third largest marine area of any nation in the world and we need to protect it for future generations.

"The fact is that our marine environment is under long-term pressure from climate change, marine industries and pollution.

"That's why the Gillard Government is working with communities to establish a network of marine reserves to drive a sustainable future for our marine environment and to ensure our oceans stay healthy and productive."

The Commonwealth has sole jurisdictional responsibility for protection and management of Australia's exclusive economic zone beyond the three nautical mile limit of state and territory coastal waters.

The Government has committed to the establishment of new marine reserves that will form part of a National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas.

As part of this process, marine bioregional plans will be developed for each of four identified marine regions in the south-west, north-west, north and east.

Draft plans for each region are being developed, followed by a three month community consultation period before finalisation and implementation of each plan.

The Government has released a Fisheries Adjustment policy outlining the principles that it will apply in determining the forms of assistance available to industry and fishing-reliant communities following the establishment of a final network of Commonwealth marine reserves.