Watershed moment for protection of state’s marine environment

Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Ian Hunter says Parliament’s decision to reject the Liberal opposition’s Marine Parks Amendment Bill was a victory for the state’s unique marine environment and for the economic future of regional communities.

“Today marks a watershed moment for the protection, sustainability and future viability of South Australia’s marine environment,” Mr Hunter said.

“The defeat of the Liberal opposition’s Amendment Bill ensures that these 12 Sanctuary Zones – the jewels in the crown of the entire marine parks environment – will be protected.

“These unique and ecologically important areas will now be insured against emerging impacts of climate change, coastal development and increasing demand for natural resources.

“It is important to remember that the sanctuary zones represent only six per cent of the state’s waters. Contained within these zones are some of our most iconic and ecologically significant plant and animal species, which would have been compromised had the Liberal Party’s Amendment Bill been successful.”

The introduction of Marine Park Areas in South Australia is the result of 10 years of planning, involving extensive consultation with local communities, industry and other stakeholders.

“More than 8600 written submissions were received and as a result more than 50 amendments were made to the zones. Unlike the Liberal opposition the Government’s marine park legislation is based on science, and is the result of exhaustive consultation,” Mr Hunter said.

Mr Hunter thanked the Member for Frome Geoff Brock for his decision to vote against the proposed amendments, and in the process secure commitments from the government to complete comprehensive Regional Impact Assessment Statements for Kangaroo Island, Ceduna and Port Wakefield and commence a review of the marine park management plans.

“Throughout this process Mr Brock has remained devoted to ensuring that the concerns of all South Australians, and in particular those in regional areas, are listened to and addressed. The impact statements will ensure that any impacts are addressed, and also look to identify new, positive opportunities that could arise through marine parks,” Mr Hunter said.

“The government is committed to its ongoing process of consultation with the South Australian people. We now look forward to working with industry, tourism and recreation groups to ensure sustainable enjoyment and use of our marine environment.”