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Monday, 9 February 2015
Page: 187

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Debate resumed on the motion:

That this House:

(1) acknowledges that Marine National Park (Green) Zones as defined in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Zoning Plan 2003 serve to better protect the biodiversity within the Marine Park and help to ensure:

(a) the continued existence of the unique marine animals, plants and habitats that are found only in the Great Barrier Reef and provide additional protection for threatened species such as dugong and marine turtles;

(b) those industries that rely on the health of the Marine Park are able to continue, providing social and economic benefits to local communities and the wider economy;

(c) a diverse range of other benefits and values of the Marine Park, including recreational, cultural, educational and scientific values, are protected;

(d) that future generations are able to continue to use and enjoy the Marine Park;

(e) the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage values are protected; and

(f) the ecologically sustainable use of marine resources by traditional owners consistent with their traditional practices, are provided for;

(2) accepts that Marine National Park (Green) Zones can be beneficial in:

(a) protecting spawning areas and nursery grounds;

(b) minimising damage to important habitats;

(c) providing refuge for protected species, such as turtles and dugongs;

(d) boosting species numbers, which helps the food web as a whole;

(e) increasing the abundance of fish; and

(f) building the resilience of the reef against threats such as climate change and water pollution;

(3) affirms the Native Title Act 1993 which recognises the right of certain traditional owners to hunt and gather in their sea country and that native title holders may undertake traditional use of marine resources;

(4) recognises that the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is working with traditional owners for the protection of the Great Barrier Reef, by expanding the Traditional Use of the Marine Resources Agreement program and strengthening communications between local communities, managers and reef stakeholders;

(5) acknowledges the value of the Ranger Program in providing job opportunities for Indigenous people to care for their country, take on important skills, develop career pathways, protect dugongs and turtles and manage environmental threats stemming from feral animals, among other benefits;

(6) calls on the:

(a) Australian Labor Party and the Greens to pass the Environment Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 which will enable a tripling of penalties for those poaching turtles and/or dugongs; and

(b) relevant parties to work, as a priority, with traditional owners to progressively increase the protections afforded to threatened species, such as turtle and dugong, through traditional use marine resource agreements and other appropriate means, seeking to:

   (i) where traditional rights under the Native Title Act 1993 apply, seek agreement with traditional owners to prohibit the capture and killing of any species from designated Green Zones within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park area;

   (ii) continue to allow certain activities to take place with a permit, such as research and management programs for fauna and flora where they pose a threat to humans or the environment, as per existing regulations; and

   (iii) introduce legislation to prohibit the taking of marine species, including seabirds, in designated Green Zones within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Area, where other efforts have proven to be inadequate;

(7) in the interest of supporting the policing of turtle and dugong product that is transported for commercial purposes, prohibit the movement of native species, taken under the Native Title Act 1993 outside the area in which it is caught; and

(8) recognises that these initiatives would complement a range of measures already being implemented under the Government's Turtle and Dugong Protection Plan and Community Management Plans, which will enhance the protection of marine turtles and dugongs in Far North Queensland and the Torres Strait.