Commonwealth Marine Parks

Australia is the steward of the world's third-largest marine territory, home to some of the most diverse marine life on Earth.

Like our national parks on land, Australia’s marine sanctuaries provide protection and sanctuary for wildlife and habitats, for us all to enjoy for generations to come. Healthy marine life is also central to Australia’s coastal lifestyle and local economies.

We Must Save Our Sanctuaries

The Turnbull Government made massive cutbacks to our marine sanctuaries. They stripped back protections leaving icons like the Coral Sea, the Kimberley, Lord Howe Island and Geographe Bay further exposed to destructive commercial fishing and oil and gas activities – threatening some of our most special places.

These changes ignored decades of science, the advice of the Government’s own independent review, the wishes of local communities, and the voice of hundreds of thousands of Australians who have called on our government to reinstate our vital marine sanctuary protections.

Our oceans, and the wondrous and vulnerable wildlife that call them home, are in more danger than ever – from climate change, pollution, overfishing and industry. To reduce marine protections is completely irresponsible.


Our Commonwealth Marine Parks
(A timeline)

Australia made history by declaring the world’s largest network of marine parks and sanctuaries, protecting some of the most biodiverse waters on the planet.

This network was the result of decades of science, years of consultation and work by all sides of politics – it was initiated under the Howard Government and finalised by the Gillard Government.

  • In November 2012, the final network was released, supported by 70 per cent of Australians, making it one of the most popular decisions of our time.
  • Yet despite this, in 2013 the Abbott Government suspended the new marine parks and sanctuaries, announcing a drawn out and costly review and leaving our sanctuaries unprotected and at risk for years.
  • In 2018, the Turnbull Government’s passed new plans that included brutal cutbacks to protection on a scale we have never seen before in the world – the equivalent to removing every second national park on land in Australia!

Australians continue to strongly support the full restoration of our national network of marine sanctuaries and reject the Government’s cutbacks!

Explore Our Commonwealth Marine Parks

Coral Sea Marine Reserve

The Coral Sea is one of the healthiest tropical marine ecosystems left in our global oceans.

North Marine Region

The north marine region includes some of the world's most intact tropical ocean ecosystems.

North-West Marine Region

The north-west is refuge for the largest population of humpback whales on the planet!

South-West Marine Region

Our south-west marine parks contain critical habitats for threatened and endangered species.

South-East Marine Region

Our south-east marine parks have the high number of species found nowhere else on Earth.

Temperate East Marine Region

The cool waters of the temperate east marine region are characterised by remarkable beauty.