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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment


10 December 1997

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has announced the addition of a 350 square-kilometre area to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

The new section of the marine park includes coastal waters from Delcomyn Point to south of Corio Bay approximately 14 kilometres north of Yeppoon. Part of the new section is within the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area.

Senator Hill says the extension demonstrates Australia's commitment to marine protection ahead of the 1998 International Year of the Ocean.

"The Great Barrier Reef is recognised as one of the world's most outstanding marine protected areas. The latest addition to the marine park will enhance our ability to protect and manage the biodiversity and other conservation values of this World Heritage area.

"The park's new area will be called `Gumoo Woojabuddee', in accordance with a proposal by the Darumbal Aboriginal people from the region. The name translates as `Bigfulla Water'."

The declaration is supported by the Darumbal Aboriginal people, the Department of Defence and the Queensland Government.

Senator Hill says including the area in the park implements a recommendation by a Commission of Inquiry into Shoalwater Bay to incorporate all waters within the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area into marine parks.

The new section and its coastline possess a range of natural values, including fringing reefs and stunning coastal dunes, and have a history of Aboriginal occupation and use.

The Ramsar-listed mudflats and the coastal dunes of Port Clinton and Corio Bay provide important roosting and feeding habitat for migratory shorebirds and seabirds.

The Port Clinton area also contains considerable seagrass meadows which provide feeding areas for dugong and marine turtles, and is part of a Dugong Protection Area (Zone A). Forms of mesh netting which represent a threat to dugongs will be prohibited in the Dugong Protection Area.

The park's new section is already part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Property. The preparation of a zoning plan for the new area will begin shortly.

Julie Marks (Senator Hill's office) 02 6277 7640
Craig Sambell (GBRMPA) 077 500 846
10 December 1997

Commonwealth of Australia