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

13 May 2003

$462 Million for Coasts and Oceans

The Commonwealth has delivered on its election promise to develop and implement Australia's Oceans Policy in the 2003-04 Budget and will build on its reputation as a world leader in oceans management with $462 million to protect coasts and oceans during the next year.

"This Budget allocates more than $18 million in new funding for the National Oceans Office over 2003-04 and 2004-05, providing certainty for all stakeholders in the regional marine planning process," said Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp. "This additional funding will support the National Oceans Office as an Executive Agency for oceans matters for the Commonwealth."

"Australia's 16 million square kilometres of oceans will be the subject of comprehensive, strategic regional marine plans over the next decade. This year will see the release of the draft South-East Regional Marine Plan, taking in Australia's ocean waters off Victoria, Tasmania, eastern South Australia, far south New South Wales and Macquarie Island."

"Australia's Oceans Policy is a world first in aiming to properly manage a continent's entire ocean territory, based on comprehensive, strategic and soundly based planning and the release later this year of the first regional plan, covering over two million square kilometres of ocean, will be closely watched overseas."

"Australia's second regional marine plan for the northern ocean territory around the Gulf of Carpentaria and Eastern Arafura Sea, is already underway and the Commonwealth is working cooperatively with the Governments of Queensland and the Northern Territory."

"The plans will integrate environmental, economic, social and cultural objectives to help Australia plan for the future as well as capitalise on existing opportunities."

"Internationally, we will share our experience of protecting oceans through the establishment of marine protected areas, (the Commonwealth has declared six new marine reserves since 1998), and help developing nations in our own region manage their ocean resources more sustainably under bilateral partnerships announced at the World Summit on Sustainable Development."
The 2003-04 Budget continues Australia's impressive record of marine protection. Other elements include:

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

Commonwealth of Australia