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Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
11 April 2006
The precious environmental and cultural values of the Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs have received further protection by the Australian Government with the release today of a second management plan for the area.
The Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, said the plan would create new protection zones while still allowing recreational access.
Senator Campbell said the Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs Marine National Nature Reserve, about 150km north of Lord Howe Island off the NSW coast, contained unique ecological communities, including some threatened species, as well as culturally significant shipwrecks.
“The region’s remote and isolated location and the previous management plan ensured the reefs remained in a relatively undisturbed and pristine state. This new management plan will continue to ensure the nature reserve’s unique environmental and cultural values are preserved,” he said.
The new plan divides the Reserve into a Sanctuary Zone at Middleton Reef, including the surrounding area, and a Habitat Protection Zone at Elizabeth Reef. This arrangement will protect the reefs while still allowing some limited uses.
A draft plan was circulated for public comment from 20 July 2005 to 30 August 2005. Following this public consultation period, the plan was amended to reflect some of the issues raised in submissions, especially those from residents from the nearby Lord Howe Island community.
“I am pleased with the level of participation in the public consultation process, especially from residents of Lord Howe Island,” Senator Campbell said.
“Their input provided a valuable insight into the cultural association Lord Howe Island residents have with the reefs and this has subsequently been incorporated into the final plan.”
The new management plan will operate for seven years until 2013. The plan can be viewed at www.deh.gov.au/coasts/mpa/elizabeth/ or by contacting the Community Information Unit at the Department of the Environment and Heritage at firstname.lastname@example.org or on freecall 1800 803 772.
Renae Stoikos 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434