Oceans 13 - Australia’s oceans and the 2013 federal election
Tue 3 September 2013
Australia’s oceans are the richest, most biodiverse on the planet and, with an ocean jurisdiction twice the size of our land, there is a lot at stake this federal election.
With the election called for 7th September, we are urging politicians of all persuasions to commit to protecting Australian’s spectacular oceans. One of our top election priorities is the Great Barrier Reef. Rapid industrialisation is threatening the largest, most treasured reef system on the planet and our next government must turn this around. Read more here and ask your local politician and candidates to sign the Reef Pledge here.
The next Australian Government must make the protection of our oceans and their marine life a high priority. To help you see where different parties stand this election, we’ve taken a look at their policy announcements, platforms and positions and summarised how they stack up on protecting our oceans.
We also asked the parties to complete the following:
In 300 words of less, if your party were to form government what would you do to protect Australia’s marine environment, threatened marine species like whales, sharks and turtles and marine World Heritage Areas including the Great Barrier Reef?
Their responses are provided under our policy assessments.
In alphabetical order...
The Australian Greens have committed to stopping dredging and dumping within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, to protecting pristine areas of the Reef from new coal and gas ports and to increasing funding for measures to tackle poor Reef water quality. The Greens supported the creation of the world’s largest network of marine protected areas around Australia, will maintain Federal Government oversight of environmental approvals for projects which threaten our marine environment and support greater action to reduce climate change. The party supports a national container deposits scheme to reduce marine debris.
View the Australian Greens 300 word response to our question.
Australian Labor Party
The Australian Labor Party has delivered the world’s largest network of marine reserves, and we are seeking their commitment to adequately fund the management of the new network. The ALP has committed to retain Federal Government oversight of environmental approvals for projects which threaten our marine environment. In government the ALP introduced a two-year ban on super trawler fishing in our waters, although is yet to commit to a permanent ban. The ALP has committed to establishing a 'Reef Bank' to support improved Reef conservation measures and to investing in tackling agricultural pollution threats to the Great Barrier Reef. It is yet to announce any measures to protect the Reef from industrialisation including committing to ban dredge spoil dumping.
View the Australian Labor Party’s 300 word response to our question.
Liberal National Party Coalition
The Coalition has announced it will suspend the plans for Australia’s new marine reserves, despite the previous Coalition Government (under Howard) having instigated the national network of marine reserves process. The Coalition has committed to establishing a Threatened Species Commissioner and a 'Reef Trust' to fund coastal habitat restoration and water quality improvements for the Great Barrier Reef. They have also announced funding for turtle and dugong conservation and reducing ghost nets in our northern waters. The Coalition is yet to release any policies on tackling industrialisation threats to the Great Barrier Reef. They have not yet committed to ban dredge spoil dumping within the Reef. The Coalition has announced they will abandon the price on carbon pollution. They are yet to support a ban on super trawlers operating in Australian waters.
Keep watching this space - we’ll update this further as we hear more from the parties.