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Coalition announces whale & dolphin protection plan



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Media Release

The Hon Greg Hunt MP Shadow Minister for Climate Action, Environment and Heritage

Friday 23 August 2013

Coalition announces whale & dolphin protection plan

Australians have a deep love of our marine and coastal environments and in particular the iconic whale and dolphin species.

A Coalition Government will allocate $2 million for the protection of whales and dolphins along our coastal waters and the establishment of a National Whale Trail to encourage coastal tourism.

Shadow Climate Action, Environment and Heritage Minister Greg Hunt and Shadow Tourism Minister Bob Baldwin, today joined the Liberal Candidate for Robertson, Lucy Wicks in making the announcement at the Point Cook Lookout at Copacabana near Gosford.

As part of the plan, a Coalition Government will allocate $750,000 to a National Whale Stranding Action Plan to identify the most effective means of preventing and responding to whale strandings on our coastline.

A further $750,000 will be provided for a National Dolphin Recovery Plan and to advance important conservation work, including an emergency response capability.

“It’s distressing when we see whales and dolphins stranded on a beach,” Mr Hunt said.

“Government authorities have a range of response systems, however a national approach is needed to ensure resources and knowledge can be shared and directed quickly. Time can be crucial so it’s important that there is a co-ordinated response.”

Mr Hunt said the reason why whales and dolphins became stranded was still not fully understood.

“By bringing together the work of the range of coastal conservation groups, government authorities and researchers, we will attempt to provide further answers. In that way, we will minimise the strandings and ensure our response is swifter and more effective.

“In addition, $500,000 will fund the creation of a National Whale Trail to support tourism and education about the annual migration of whales along our coastline.” The funding will provide grants for the communities to improve viewing facilities and land-based whale watching, which has become a tourism boom for towns along the coast during the whale season.

“We want to have a network of places such as Point Cook Lookout along the coast, so people can watch as the whales pass. They are magnificent creatures and it is breathtaking to watch them migrate each year,” Mr Hunt said.

Mr Baldwin said tourism from whale watching had become an important business for many coastal communities and the funding would assist in creating a National Whale Trail that people could follow.

“People want to be able to see the whales from these land-based vantage points,” he said.

“They also want information about the types of whales and their migratory patterns, and this education will be an important part of the National Whale Trail.”

Mrs Wicks said that tourism was an important part of the local Robertson economy.

“Whale watching is a growing business and having a National Whale Trail will only add to that whilst creating local jobs,” she said.

“We can see the local interest by the work already being done by the Central Coast Marine Research Centre. It’s organisations like this that will benefit from this funding.”

A Coalition Government will also continue the action to stop whaling in the Southern Ocean.

The Coalition supports the international legal case taken by the Australian Government against Japanese whalers.

Should the whaling season continue, the Coalition commits to sending a Customs vessel to the Southern Ocean. It is important that Australia has a Southern Ocean presence given the ongoing risk of confrontation between whalers and protestors.

Media Contact: Wendy Black 0418 532 534