I rise today to speak about marine parks, an issue that hundreds if not thousands of constituents have contacted me about. I'm incredibly proud that Labor has committed to reverse the largest removal of area from conservation in history. When Labor were in government, we announced the permanent protection of Australia's precious marine environments with the proclamation of the world's biggest network of marine reserves. That is more than 2.3 million square kilometres of ocean environment. Conversely, the coalition government has ignored decades of science, the advice of its own independent review and the wishes of local communities. They have ignored the voices of hundreds of thousands of Australians who've been consulted over the years while Australia's marine parks network was in development. Under a Liberal government, the largest area in the world limited to recreational fishing is now being reaccessed by commercial operators. Perhaps most disturbing of all, the government has now established a massive trawling area immediately adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef. As Tim Winton said in a speech in 2012:
During my own lifetime the world’s oceans have suffered a terrible decline. I’ve read about it. And I've seen it up close and ugly.
The people asking for marine parks understand this for what it is: good housekeeping, prudent management, a future for their kids.
I thank my wonderfully engaged constituents for writing to me about this. I'm proud to be a member of the Labor Party, which is committed to restoring the 2012 marine park network in full.