House debates

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Questions without Notice


2:36 pm

Photo of Warren EntschWarren Entsch (Leichhardt, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for the Environment. Will the minister update the House on the measures the government is taking to ensure practical outcomes in the environment, particularly in improving the health of our oceans?

Photo of Sussan LeySussan Ley (Farrer, Liberal Party, Minister for the Environment) Share this | | Hansard source

Can I thank the member for Leichardt and note that around 66,607 taxpayers in his electorate will receive tax relief for the current income year under the tax plan currently before the parliament. Can I also acknowledge the member for Leichardt in the important environment portfolio, in his role as envoy for the reef. He will bring his dynamism, charm, determination and considerable energy to advocate for a resilient reef, and to other passions that he has, including marine plastics.

Australia proudly leads the world in ocean science and the management of our oceans. Three million square kilometres of our waters are national parks and 36 per cent of our waters are marine parks—boundaries and activities landed by the coalition government. Inside those marine parks, 25 per cent are no-take zones—a record we can be very proud of. But eight million tonnes of plastic goes into our oceans annually—not much from our region; quite a lot from our northern neighbours. We work assiduously with them to clean up our oceans, including our $16 million Pacific Ocean Litter Project.

Australians care about our environment. They want to be involved in protecting it now and into the future. The Morrison government will work internationally and with communities, with local organisations and with our scientific experts to address all of the issues that confront us, large and small, including Asia-Pacific rainforest recovery, blue carbon and sequestering carbon in our coastal and marine ecosystems, and we will continue to invest in protecting the Great Barrier Reef. We are committing $100 million to the Environment Restoration Fund. There are many good projects in members' electorates, many coastal and marine projects supporting our conservation volunteers and the coastal environments of Bells Beach, Mount Martha Beach, the Surf Coast. We are, across the land, working quietly at delivering these local environment projects to protect every ecosystem, large and small.

We can't opt out of modern living or the modern world, but we can get smarter about the way we live and the pressure we place on our environment, and about doing everything we can to mitigate that—reducing waste, increasing recycling. We have a big agenda here and I want to acknowledge Assistant Minister Evans, the member for Brisbane, for his absolute passion for working on the circular economy: renew, reuse, recycle, reduce. We have a big agenda. Conservation is everyone's business. I look forward to all members of the House supporting this.