Articles by AAP and the Australian today highlight a new private members bill about to go into Australia’s Parliament from a Nationals senator that seeks to change legislation for declaring marine parks, legislation that was enacted under the last Coalition Government and has shared bipartisan support for more than a decade.
Until now, the Coalition has previously been rightfully proud of their legacy of protecting the Great Barrier Reef and putting in place the legislation that is underpinning the role out of marine parks in Australia.
The new legislation would; however, mean that the fisheries minister can veto new marine parks and that Parliament has to approve all new marine sanctuaries. A similar veto in Western Australia has held up progress on marine parks to the point where WA has virtually no large marine sanctuaries outside of the Ningaloo marine park. So what has changed in Coalition ranks since the Howard years that these extra checks and balances are required? We’ll have to wait for the Coalition to explain.
At the end of the day, we don’t need more checks and balances. The science is in, our marine life needs more marine sanctuaries, not more delays.