This afternoon Josh Frydenberg released the management plans for Australia's marine parks and it's worse than we ever imagined.

Australia's network of marine parks has been gutted. The more pristine the area, the more savage the changes are. The Coral Sea has gone from being the Jewel in the Crown of the Commonwealth Marine Parks protecting the eastern side of the Great Barrier Reef to now being a haven for longlining and trawling.

This decision removes more area from conservation than any decision from any government in any country ever. There has never been a step backwards in conservation area as large as this from any country on earth.

The Government’s own handpicked panel had recommended a series of changes which reduced the environmental outcome of the original marine reserves. Josh Frydenberg has looked at those changes and determined that even they didn’t go far enough and has decided to take even more areas out of environmental protection.

He has also attacked recreational fishing by taking an area which had been the largest recreational fishing-only zone in the world and opened it up in full to commercial operators. The commercial operators include longliners, purse seine fishing and mid-water trawling which is the same method of fishing used by the super trawler.

The worst area affected is the Coral Sea. Per seine, longlining and mid-water trawling (the same method used by the super trawler) are all now allowed across the Coral Sea with a clear uninterrupted path from North to South.


Tony Burke