It is encouraging news to come home to after a week in Canberra promoting new report The Economics of Marine sanctuaries amongst Liberal, Labor and Greens MP’s in the Australian Parliament.
Thanks to Conservation Council of SA, the policies are summarized below. Full policy commitment letters can be downloaded at the CCSA website. There is indications that these policies may improve further, so watch CCSA’s website closely in the lead up to the election for the latest.
The Rann Government commits, that if re-elected, it will have a network of marine parks in place by 2012, which will provide comprehensive, adequate and representative protection for the marine environment that meets Australian and international standards. The parks will include sanctuary zones that provide meaningful protection. While every effort will be made to minimise displacement, where necessary, effort will be displaced and compensated to enable the creation of sanctuary zones large enough to protect marine biodiversity and ecosystem processes.
The Liberals are committed to completing marine park management plans within the next Parliamentary term. Marine parks will contain a range of zones, including sanctuary zones, the sizes and locations of which will be based on nationally and internationally accepted scientific benchmarks for the high level protection of marine biodiversity and ecosystem processes. The amount of funding for marine parks will depend on an amount allocated for management and an amount available for displaced effort. While the process for the zoning and management plans is in process, it is difficult to commit to a specific quantum for these purposes.
With evidence and analysis, such as the Allen Consulting Group economic report and recent McCook et al paper from the Great Barrier Reef (GBR Marine Reserves Media Release), showing strong ecological benefits and long term economic benefits from marine sanctuaries – there is much hope that this Federal election could also lead to strong bi-partisan support for marine protection.
After the disappointing results with the Australian Governments lack of support for stopping international trade of bluefin tuna at Doha, there is a real chance with marine sanctuaries for Australia to once again take a world leading role in marine protection.
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