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The Hon Dr Sharman Stone
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Murray
2 December 2002
The Commonwealth Government today encouraged all Australians to get involved in Coastcare Week (1-7 December) and help 'keep our marine life out of strife!'
Launching Coastcare Week at the National Aquarium in Melbourne today, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr Sharman Stone said that Coastcare Week plays an important role in raising awareness about our coastal and marine environments.
"Australia's coastline provides homes for many diverse and beautiful marine species, but more and more pressure is being put on these animals each year, due to pollution on the coast and in the ocean," Dr Stone said.
"Threatened and vulnerable marine species such as the Grey Nurse Shark, Marine Turtles, Seagrasses, Blue Groper, Dugong, Territorial reef fish, Spotted Handfish, Albatross, and Sea dragons can suffer horrific injuries from plastics and other litter. Pollution also kills.
"What many people don't realise is that the things we discard a long way from the beach end up in our coastal environment.
"The good news is that this damage is preventable. There are a number of simple things we can do to help protect our marine life.
"For example responsibly disposing of litter - whether you're at the beach, on a boat, in the car or at home. If you've been fishing, you should take your equipment home with you and not leave snagged lines behind, or throw old nets, rope, plastic or bait bags over the side of the boat.
"Coastcare is just one of the many important ways the Commonwealth is working to protect our coastal and marine environments.
"The Howard Government developed the worlds first National Oceans Policy and we are currently hard at work with the Queensland government, developing for the first time, water quality standards for runoff into the Great Barrier Reef Lagoon.
"During Coastcare Week, I'd like to take the opportunity to congratulate all Coastcare groups, including the 350 groups and 20,000 volunteers in my home state of Victoria, who are working with us to protect our coasts.
"The efforts of our Coastcare volunteers cannot be understated and I would like to thank them for their exceptional efforts and encourage others to join us in our efforts to repair and protect Australia's coastal and marine environments," Dr Stone said.
Coastcare is a program of the Commonwealth Government's $2.7 billion Natural Heritage Trust. Through the Trust, the Commonwealth has contributed almost $15 million to Coastcare. Coastcare funding supports a wide range of community projects such as: dune revegetation; beach access and boardwalk construction; weed control; reef and marine species monitoring; coastal habitat protection and community education.
For more information on Coastcare or to find out how you can help protect our coasts visit the web site at www.ea.gov.au/coasts/coastcare or www.ea.gov.au/coasts/coastcare/50-ways.html or phone freecall 1800 065 023.
For a fact sheet on the marine species featured in this release and downloadable high-resolution images go to www.ea.gov.au/coasts/coastcare/week/index.html.
Rachel Noble, Ph: 02 6277 2016
Welcome by Justin MacFarlane Landcare Australia - Victoria
Official address by the Hon. Dr Sharman Stone, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Address by Guy Andrews, former Ironman and World Class Adventure Racer
Address by Michelle Lauder, Victorian Coastcare Coordinator
Dr Stone farewells Guy Andrews on his Eco Trek
Guy Andrews is running, kayaking and cycling from Melbourne to Sydney as part of the Land Rover Coastcare Eco Trek, which aims to raise awareness of Australia's threatened marine species.