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Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP

14 May 2002

Government Commits $9M to Australia's Oceans

The sound planning and protection of Australia's oceans will be advanced with $9.1 million for the National Oceans Office in the Commonwealth's 2002-03 Budget.

Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, said the funding would ensure finalisation of Australia's first plan to protect our precious marine environment - the South-East Marine Regional Marine Plan - and progress the second regional marine plan for the north of Australia.

"Regional marine planning is the key plank of Australia's Oceans Policy, which seeks to better understand and manage Australia's 11 million square kilometres of territorial waters," Dr Kemp said.

The South-East Regional Marine Plan is Australia's first, taking in two million square kilometres of ocean from eastern South Australia, around Victoria, Tasmania (including Macquarie Island) and southern New South Wales. Regional marine planning at this scale is a world-first.

The planning area for the north takes in waters in the Gulf or Carpentaria and the Torres Strait Islands.

To underpin the regional marine planning process with a sound scientific basis, the National Oceans Office will coordinate a scientific research program aimed at better understanding the biological, physical, social and economic values of Australia's marine environments, to feed into the planning process.

"Regional marine planning gives Australia the chance to manage human use of the sea to protect our valuable and precious marine environment," Dr Kemp said.

"This initiative gives us the chance to examine what we know of the marine ecosystems of a region and how human impacts can be best managed to ensure that future generations inherit a healthy, productive marine environment."

Australia's Oceans Policy sets a world-leading framework for ensuring the long-term health of Australia's oceans by sustainably managing the use and conservation of marine resources.

The National Oceans Office, the Commonwealth's lead agency in developing and implementing Australia's Oceans Policy, has a core responsibility to implement the regional marine planning program throughout Australia's oceans.

Media contact:
Catherine Job (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400

Commonwealth of Australia