The ALP released it’s marine planning policy in the final week of the campaign, and it isn’t too bad. Given the ongoing problems with the Greens marine policy being caught up in a largely meaningless discussion of percentages of protection, it is positive that one of the majors has made some solid commitments to a good process, if not yet the outcomes our marine life needs.
CCWA media release on this below:
Labor to Save WA’s Marine Life
Conservationists have today welcomed the Gillard Labor Government’s new national marine protection policy.
In its ‘Marine Park Policy’ Labor has committed to a fully funded network of marine parks, including highly protected marine sanctuaries, throughout the Commonwealth waters off Western Australia’s southwest by the middle of next year.
“Labor’s plan for WA’s oceans recognizes the key challenges in protecting the unique marine life in our southwest and arresting the declines in WA’s fish stocks,” said Marine Spokesperson Tim Nicol.
“Up to 90% of the marine life in the southwest is unique, and one-third of the world’s whale and dolphin species use the region. Yet, despite having some of the cleanest waters in the world less than 1% of the remarkable southwest marine region is protected.”
“This is a higher level of unique marine life than the Great Barrier Reef where the Howard Government set the benchmark for marine protection of important marine environments in Australia. Labors policy provides the foundations necessary to achieve this for the southwest in the next term of Government.”
In its policy, Labor makes the three key commitments needed to protection WA’s marine life:
1. A network of highly protected marine parks in the Commonwealth waters off WA
2. Finalisation of Labor’s South West Marine Plan by June 2011, and by Labor’s North West Marine Plan by the end of 2011;
3. Funding for consultation and assistance for affected industries
“Independent economic research from the Allen Consulting group shows that a network of marine sanctuaries in Commonwealth waters will provide long term economic benefits to regional communities in the southwest of WA by underpinning growth in ecotourism and playing an important role in making fishing more sustainable.”
“In this new policy, Labor has recognized the overwhelming scientific evidence that marine sanctuaries work, the economic benefits and strong public support for action.”
“Thanks to the hard work of tens of thousands of supporters and the eleven member organizations of Save Our Marine Life, the campaign for marine sanctuaries was the biggest environment issue this federal election.”
“Marine sanctuaries enjoy strong support in Western Australia, with polling consistently showing that 8-in-10 Western Australians support high levels of marine protection, this must be a strong priority for the next Australian Government.”