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Monday, 15 September 2003
Page: 19979

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives assembled in parliament:

The petition of certain citizens of Australia and overseas visitors draws to the attention of the House the fact that the support the establishment of a comprehensive network of marine sanctuaries for the Great Barrier Reel World Heritage Area.

At the moment only 4.6% of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is zoned as a marine Marine i.e. Marine Park Zone B - (green zone) or above. This is grossly inadequate, particularly given the threats of overfishing, seafloor trawling and coral bleaching caused by climate change and pollution run-off from the land.

The Great Barrier Reef is a stunning area of beauty and biological diversity and a $1.7 billion tourism industry (along with thousands of Australian jobs) relies on its wellbeing. Scientific evidence from around the globe proves that marine sanctuaries result in a greater abundance of marine life, making these areas more resilient to the threats they face. People benefit from marine sanctuaries too - the tourism and fishing industries depend on a healthy reefs and inshore areas.

Marine sanctuaries provide refuge for threatened turtles, dugong, rare dolphins and a huge variety of other plants and animals in the Marine Park. Inshore marine sanctuaries are vital too, since they can act as `re-stocking areas', resulting in a greater number of juvenile fish that can migrate throughout the entire Marine Park.

Your petitioners therefore request the House to support the Representative Areas Program (RAP) currently being undertaken by GBRMPA as it provides a golden opportunity to establish a comprehensive network of marine sanctuaries for future generations. We ask that all the GBRMPA recommendations for new green are implemented and that sufficient funding is provided to monitor and enforce the new zoning. The vast majority of Australians and concerned citizens from around the world will thank you for it.

by Ms Livermore (from 79 citizens)