The Australian Greens said today that the Federal Government was wasting time and money on a review of Commonwealth Marine Reserves, when strong evidence already underpins the nation's network of Marine Protected Areas.
"Minister Hunt's announcement of this independent review ignores the decades of science that went into planning the network of Marine Protected Areas that were put in place under the former Government," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens marine spokesperson said today.
"It is plainly wrong for the Minister to say this process was ‘rushed', or that there was a lack of consultation. The planning process was substantive and evidence based. It was not based, to the Government's dismay, on the misguided interests of the resource sector and fisheries interests.
"Our existing network of marine protected areas is one of the most comprehensive in the world. It came about after a lengthy planning process and extended public consultations. The science is in, but the Government doesn't like the result.
"The Government is ignoring the fact that our existing marine protected areas are designed to ensure fish stocks remain healthy into the future, to help our oceans cope with the threat of global warming, to protect critical biodiversity areas and to ensure sustainable tourism, fisheries and recreational industries remain viable into the future.
"This announcement is about being seen to care about our oceans, while undermining their protection.
"The Greens will closely monitor this review process to ensure the Government is not pursuing an agenda to benefit big business, at the expense of the environment, people and communities who rely on Australia's oceans," Senator Siewert concluded.