Senate debates

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Regulations and Determinations

Marine Parks Network Management Plans; Disallowance

3:39 pm

Photo of Jordon Steele-JohnJordon Steele-John (WA, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

To call Australia home is to inhabit an ancient continent set beneath a reef of some of the world's most magnificent marine biodiversity. It is to be the custodian of some of the most pristine and beautiful natural places on planet Earth. It is to have the honour and sacred duty of stewarding the protection of these places so that they may exist for the majesty of their own right and for the enjoyment of future generations for centuries to come.

For 20 long years legislators, community groups, stakeholders and scientists have debated, argued, discussed and attempted to come to a plan and a compromise that would protect these precious places. In five short years this government has sought to do nothing else except rip them apart, to tear them asunder at the behest of large corporate supporters, simply to make life easier for itself. I cannot think of a more profound dereliction of duty than the active destruction of these precious places. Yet this is what this government is attempting to allow to take place. Not content with their profound failure to act on global warming, not content with their continued failure to protect the great forests of the south-west and of the Tarkine, not content with allowing the freshwater of this nation to be poisoned by gas, they would also see us lay our oceans bare so that corporate profit margins can be increased.

My state of Western Australia, and its glorious jewel that is the Ningaloo Reef, will lose 75 per cent of its protection. It is an absolute disgrace. The Great Barrier Reef, the Coral Sea—all of these precious, vital ecosystems will be placed at risk and subject to irrevocable harm simply because this government wishes to make its life easier and to reap the benefits of acting as a corporate stooge. I do not know what I will say to my children when they ask me why we allowed this damage to be done, but I will at least be able to tell them that I and the party I am a member of, the movement that I serve, spoke up against it and did what we could to repair it. I thank the chamber for its time.


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