16 November, 2012

Historic marine park decision supported by overwhelming majority of Australians

The Nature Conservation Council of NSW today welcomed the proclamation of the world's largest network of marine reserves as an historic occasion for Australia.

NCC CEO Pepe Clarke said the new reserves, which added 2.3 million square kilometres to a system that now covers 3 million square kilometres, provided protection for extraordinary marine habitats around the country.

“Four new marine sanctuaries will be declared in deep waters off shore from NSW, protecting unique marine features such as the Derwent Hunter seamount,” Mr Clarke said. “Today's announcement is a milestone. Hundreds of thousands of ordinary Australians have raised their voices in support of marine conservation. They have all helped deliver an historic conservation win for NSW and Australia.”

Polling by Essential Media Communications in June this year found an overwhelming 70% support for the marine reserves, with only 13% disapproving.  [1]

"Protection of our oceans and marine life is clearly an issue close to the hearts of many Australians and enjoys overwhelming support among voters across the political spectrum," Mr Clarke said.

The establishment of the national marine reserves follows a long process, started by the Howard Government in 1998 with the release of its Oceans Policy and the creation of the southeast marine reserve network in 2007.

[1] The polling question was: The Federal Government recently announced plans to protect large areas of Australia’s marine environment in a network of marine reserves. Do you approve or disapprove of these plans? Among Coalition voters, 62% of respondents either strongly approved or approved, with just 22% disapproving. Among Labor voters, 79% of respondents either strongly approved or approved, with just 8% disapproving. Greens voters were most supportive, with 89% supporting and 1% disapproving. 

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