Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Question without notice - Parliament House

19 June 2012

MELISSA PARKE (MEMBER FOR FREMANTLE): Will the Minister update the House on some of the unique marine environments placed under protection in the Government's marine parks announcement? Why is this protection necessary? And what will be its impact on recreational fishing?

BURKE: Thank you very much Madam Deputy Speaker and I thank the member for Fremantle for the question and she has been a very strong advocate for protection of marine life and has been a very strong advocate in leading to the announcement which we made last week.

In that announcement there has been a lot of focus as to what's happened on the eastern side of the country, its important also to focus on the benefits in the south west.

In the south west for example, if you are a rec fisher you refer to this feature as the Rottnest trench, environmentalists refer to it as the Perth canyon.

But it is a canyon underwater that is larger than the Grand Canyon and that up until now, has had no level of formal protection over it.

We have taken into account that it is a popular rec fishing site. There are three different heads of the canyon. One of those heads has gone in as a marine national park, the other two have remained available for recreational use. Similarly in the area of Geographe Bay further south. It's a very popular rec fish site so we have made sure that the marine national parks have been put in places that are away from the principle boat ramps there.

While I give full credit to the member for Fremantle for her advocacy and the question asked of me of why is this protection necessary. I think there are others who have made the arguments very strongly as well and I will read from a page that used to be available through a link on the internet that has now been taken down.

It's calling on the Federal Government to take action by creating larger marine sanctuaries to protect Australia's marine life and its habitat.

And I quote "Australia's coastal waters are filled with unique marine flora and fauna particularly in the south west coastal waters off Western Australia and it's important that we encourage the protection and preservation of our marine ecological environment" Julie said. There with a photo of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition holding a 'Save Our Marine Life' sticker.

I won't wave it around, I think it's important that I table it though because even though the link has been taken down, they forgot to take down the article, so it's still there on Google. You can copy but you can't delete. You can copy but you can't delete.

The protection arguments have been well made through the whole of the Save Our Marine Life campaign. It's been a major issue in Western Australia and across the benches over there. There is a reason why the only opposition we are hearing from is being run from the back benches.

There is a reason why its Ron Boswell who is purporting to make statements on behalf of the entire coalition without a single front bencher backing his position in and that is because scattered across the back bench of those opposite, they know we should be rightly proud of being the world leader in protection of the oceans, that we should be rightly proud of, just as we lead the way in national parks on land, Australia leads the way on national parks in the ocean.