Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon has officially launched a community campaign to protect Australia’s marine conservation parks in Federal Parliament this week.
Ms Claydon told the Parliament that the Turnbull Government’s new Management Plan “gutted Australia's precious protected marine parks in one of the most savage acts of environmental vandalism you can imagine.”
“No government anywhere in the world has ever removed this much area from conservation on land or sea,” Ms Claydon said.
“The more pristine the area, the more savage the changes are. The Coral Sea has gone from being the jewel in the crown of the Commonwealth marine parks, protecting the eastern side of the Great Barrier Reef, to being now a haven for long-lining and trawling.”
Ms Claydon said recreational fishers had also lost the largest recreational-only fishing area in the world.
“Large-scale industrial fishers and trawlers now getting a standing invitation to exploit Australia's marine life,” Ms Claydon said.
“All of this comes at a time when our oceans are already besieged by a toxic cocktail of acidification, marine plastics and overfishing.”
Ms Claydon said she had launched a community campaign to “help spread the word about this egregious act of vandalism and encourage more people to speak out and fight back.”
“I have been humbled and heartened by the incredible backlash from my community in the face of this stunning act of environmental vandalism,” Ms Claydon said.
“Today, I speak for all of us when I say: enough is enough.”
Ms Claydon called on the Turnbull Government to reinstate protections that were enshrined in Australia's national marine reserve network in 2013.
“Labor put the world's largest network of marine parks in place in 2013, protecting over 2.3 million square kilometres of our oceans,” Ms Claydon said.
“When we protect our oceans, we are protecting our future. Our children and grandchildren deserve nothing less.”
The petition to Protect our Oceans is available at www.sharonclaydon.com/protect_our_oceans.