The Australian Greens said that while we celebrate World Ocean Day today we need to remember that a strong, ongoing effort is needed to protect Australia's marine environment from threats such as global warming, oil and gas production, overfishing and pollution.
"In the past year, Australia has implemented a world-leading system of marine parks, which will play an essential role in protecting our oceans and marine life," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens marine spokesperson said today.
"The finalisation of the marine parks network is a major step, but it does not mean our oceans are now safe.
"Resource development and oil and gas exploration continues to threaten many important areas, including Ningaloo, the Abrolhos and the Great Barrier Reef.
"WA's Kimberley coast is visited by thousands of whales each year, who use the region for feeding and calving their young, yet despite this, the state Government is pushing ahead with hopes of developing a resources hub in the region. 90% of the marine life in our South West is unique, we need to ensure sustainable management of the area into the future.
"Climate change is having a pronounced effect on Australia's environment, and its impact is already being felt on the oceans. By addressing climate change as a matter of priority and ensuring that exploration and development do not occur near important areas, we can ensure that we have healthy oceans.
"This protection ensures the biodiversity and environment that supports so many local communities and economies remains strong.
"The Greens have a long and proud history of standing up for marine protection and responsible use of our oceans, and that is something we will never back away from," Senator Siewert concluded.