Conservation groups have condemned the NSW Government’s unilateral decision to strip environmental protections from its proposed Sydney Marine Park before the public consultation period has closed.
“This decision undermines public confidence in the government’s consultation process, which still has 10 days to run,” Nature Conservation Council CEO Kate Smolski said.
“By caving into a noisy minority of voices and pre-empting the results of the public consultation, the government has denied thousands of people a say in the protection of our precious marine life.
“It is a slap in the face for the vast majority of people who say they want increased protections for our ocean waters and marine life.
“This is a betrayal of public trust that may cost the Berejiklian government dearly at the next election as people on the coast oppose scrapping the sanctuary areas.
“Polling last month showed that if the government backflipped on Sydney Marine Park many people in key coastal electorates would vote against the Coalition.”
Australian Marine Conservation Society spokesperson Adele Pedder said: “It’s great that the importance of marine parks has been recognised, but the science shows stripping sanctuary protections may render the park potentially ineffective.
“The people of Sydney will continue to stand up for their blue backyard until we have sanctuaries for our marine life.”
The poll found public support for a marine park was very high in key coastal electorates: 83% in Manly, 76% in Coogee, and about 75% in the Central Coast seats of Gosford and Terrigal.
The poll also found people in those electorates would be more likely to vote for candidates and parties who supported increasing marine protections and punish the government if it backflipped on its marine park proposal.
ABOUT MARINE PARKS
NSW marine parks are multiple-use and allow a range of activities including recreational fishing, commercial fishing, boating, diving, snorkeling and swimming across the region. The activities allowed are determined by zoning arrangements developed through community consultation.
When the marine park for the Sydney region is fully established, NSW will have seven coastal and offshore marine parks. The others include Cape Byron, Solitary Islands, Port Stephens, Jervis Bay, Batemans and Lord Howe.
ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN
The Sydney Marine Park campaign is a joint project of the Australian Marine Conservation Society and the Nature Conservation Council of NSW.
James Tremain | Nature Conservation Council | 0419 272 254