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

25 August 1999

NEW ACTION PLAN FOR MARINE PROTECTED AREAS


Marine conservation is the focus of a new action plan designed to help Australia's governments establish and manage future marine protected areas.

Federal Environment and Heritage Minister Robert Hill today released the Strategic Plan of Action for the National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas: A Guide for Action by Australian Governments.

The Plan was jointly developed by State, Territory and Commonwealth agencies and has been endorsed by the Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council.

Senator Hill said the Plan will help establish and maintain a comprehensive system of marine protected areas to protect marine biodiversity and contribute to the ecological viability of marine and estuarine environments.

"The Plan lists 34 actions to be undertaken by the Commonwealth, States and the Northern Territory to advance marine protected area development in Australia over the next three years," Senator Hill said.

"The actions are about establishing marine protected areas, clarifying key concepts for the system, understanding threats to the marine environment and assessing how marine protected areas perform.

"We need to start identifying where marine protected areas need to be put, what size and shape they should be and how they work to protect the diversity of marine life and ecological systems.

"Australian governments, industry and the community can provide help to each other and continued international leadership in the field of marine conservation and protected areas".

The Plan complements the Interim Marine and Coastal Regionalisation for Australia and the Guidelines for Establishing the National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas, both published in 1998.

Copies of the Plan can be obtained from Environment Australia's Community Information Unit on 1800 803 772, or viewed at the following Internet address: http://www.environment.gov.au/net/marine/spa.html.

Contacts:
Rod Bruem (Senator Hill's office) 02 6277 7640 or 0411 128 582
Dr Conall O'Connell (Environment Australia ) 02 6274 1919

Commonwealth of Australia