The Greens spokesperson for Healthy Oceans, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, has highlighted the NSW Government’s decision to remove protections from the Sydney Marine Park as evidence that recent federal government marine park downgrades have started a stampede for states to cut marine protections.
“This slippery slope for our oceans stems from the federal liberal government gutting federal marine protected areas, supporting the interests of a few big fishing and big oil companies over good science and sustainable environmental outcomes.
“Everyone benefits from a healthy marine environment, including recreational fishers, and especially so in times of ocean warming where marine nurseries are vital in providing the best chance for future healthy oceans.
“The science is clear: I chaired an inquiry into climate change and fisheries around Australia, and the overwhelming evidence points to marine parks as an essential insurance in the face of species migration, over fishing and habitat degradation.
“NSW Government’s decision to remove environmental protections from its proposed Sydney Marine Park before the public consultation period follows the new low-bar set recently the federal government in pandering to a noisy minority who are focussed only on self-interest.
“Who is next? We have grave fears the South Australian Government will also move to follow the federal government and downgrade marine protections currently in place.
“Our biggest fear was the dangerous precedent set by the Senate would politically embolden the Liberal states to follow suite, and sadly this has happened”
“Voters need to look very carefully at the support the cross-bench gives the Government in the Senate.
“Our disallowance on Marine Park reductions was the perfect opportunity for Centre Alliance Senators, Senator Storer and Senator Hinch to show they care for healthy oceans, and vote to not set such a low bar. The importance of this was pointed out to them, but they chose to ignore it and rewarded the Liberals trashing of decades of hard work by thousands of Australians to have proper marine protections put in place.
“While the majority of Australians say they want increased protections for our ocean waters and marine life, micro parties and independent senators chose to pander to vested interests over public concern.
“The Greens make no apologies about standing up for protecting our marine environment for a sustainable future in the face of unprecedented climate change and increased exploitation.”