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Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
29 August 2005
The management efforts of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority – custodians of the reef over the past 30 years – have been recognised today in a special ceremony by the Australian Minister for Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell.
Speaking at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s 30th anniversary celebrations in Townsville, Senator Campbell said the Reef was heralded as one of the healthiest reef systems in the world today.
“This achievement can be attributed to the foresight of the Australian Government and innovative management efforts of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority over the past three decades,” Senator Campbell said.
Senator Campbell said the most historic benchmark was the Marine Park Authority’s Representative Areas Programme, which was introduced last year after extensive consultations with the tourism and fishing industries, the State Government and the local community.
“The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is now hailed as the best protected reef system in the world with 33 per cent of the Park protected,” he said.
“The Government has also implemented a Structural Adjustment Package in recognition of the impact of the rezoning on local businesses and industry.
“The new zoning plan clearly shows that the Government continues to lead the world in marine management and protection.”
Senator Campbell also recognised the outstanding leadership of the current chair of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Virginia Chadwick, for her efforts in rezoning the marine park. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority was established in 1975 as the management agency responsible for the care and protection of the marine park.
The authority was formed when the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act came into operation and made provision for “the establishment, control, care and development of a marine park”, and the creation of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
Senator Campbell said many had taken a strong role in the protection of the reef since the Whitlam Government established GBRMPA in 1975. Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser’s continued support for the reef saw him sign the historic ‘Emerald Agreement’ with then Premier of Queensland, Sir Joh Bjelke-Peterson. The agreement – which is still in place today – established co-operative day-today management arrangements in the Marine Park between the Australian and Queensland Government.
Senator Campbell said he was also proud of the achievements of his two predecessors in protection of the reef: Senator Robert Hill was the architect of Australia’s environmental protection law, while Dr David Kemp’s great accomplishment was the massive expansion of protective zones for the Reef.
Renae Stoikos (02) 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434