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Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
9 May 2006
The Australian Government will invest $37.7 million to accelerate its regional marine planning programme over the next four years, confirming Australia as the world leader in protection of marine resources and delivery of ecologically sustainable development in the marine environment, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, announced today.
"The Australian Government's investment of $37.7 million over four years will develop comprehensive plans for Australia's 14 million square kilometre ocean jurisdiction," Senator Campbell said.
Senator Campbell said the plans would draw on Australia's growing marine science and socio-economic information base to provide a detailed picture of each marine region. The plans will describe each region's:
"The accelerated timeframe for marine planning reflects streamlining in the process, which has been brought under the powerful Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Under the new approach, the focus will be on identifying the Australian Government's conservation priorities in each region," Senator Campbell said.
"This will give industry a greater level of clarity about the conservation-related obligations that they face in each region. This will provide enhanced protection for the marine environment, without bureaucratic hurdles such as additional approval processes," he said.
The planning process will include identification of a network of marine protected areas as part of a range of conservation measures in each region.
Marine Bioregional Plans will be key reference documents for industry, and provide a knowledge base in each region to guide decision makers.
"Marine planning has already made significant contributions to science and increased our knowledge of the marine environment. Marine Bioregional Plans will help improve our understanding of the biodiversity of the marine environment and the economic potential of Australia's oceans by providing a clearer focus on conservation and sustainable management," Senator Campbell said.
For more information: www.deh.gov.au/about/publications/budget/2006
Marianne McCabe on 02 6277 7640 or 0400 389 580