National network of marine parks reinstated

THE Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) has welcomed the Australian Labor Party's marine parks policy that was announced today.

It delivers certainty for our oceans, fishing and tourism businesses.

The policy includes a commitment to reinstate Australia's national network of marine parks, established by Labor in 2012 and suspended by the Abbott Government.

"Labor's marine parks legacy began with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, established by the Whitlam Government," AMCS Marine Parks Campaign Manager Fiona Maxwell said.

"Since then, marine parks have had support from all sides of politics, including the Howard Coalition Government which started the process to establish the national network of marine parks. The bipartisan support of marine parks ended when the Abbott Government suspended the network.

"AMCS welcomes Labor's commitment to fully reinstate Australia's national network of marine parks and the adequate financial assistance package for commercial fishers linked to it.

"The Abbott review of our marine parks has dragged on, creating uncertainty for local fishing and tourism businesses and leaving our oceans unprotected and at risk of expanded oil and gas exploration.

"In the face of devastating coral bleaching - in special places like the Coral Sea, Great Barrier Reef and the Kimberley - marine sanctuaries are more important than ever.

"Science shows that marine sanctuaries provide resilience and help reefs to recover from coral bleaching, as well as ensuring we have fish for the future.

"Marine sanctuaries provide a safe haven for breeding fish and a healthy feeding ground for animals like dolphins, turtles and dugongs.

"Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull now has the opportunity to match this commitment, end the uncertainty and show bipartisan support for protecting Australia's oceans and marine life," she said.