Australia’s unique marine environment needs policies that deliver “cooler and cleaner oceans” at the 2019 Federal election, the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) says.
The election vote, on 18 May, comes at a critical time for Australia’s oceans that are coming under increasing pressure from climate change, unsustainable fishing and pollution, risking the health of our Great Barrier Reef and unique marine wildlife.
Darren Kindleysides AMCS chief executive said: “Australians treasure our oceans. Our Great Barrier Reef is loved all around the world and our marine tourism industry delivers $31 billion to our economy.
“We have the world’s third largest marine estate and more species in our oceans than any other country on Earth. We call on all parties to give voters a serious mix of science-based policies that protect our marine treasures, our economy and our lifestyle.
“If our oceans could vote, they would want action on climate change. They want to be free from plastic pollution, they want areas that are sanctuaries from commercial fishing, and they want their wildlife protected.
“When we do take seafood from our oceans, that has to be done in a way that’s genuinely sustainable. And our global icon – the Great Barrier Reef – needs policies that keep the corals cool and the water clean.”
AMCS, Australia’s peak marine conservation group, has written to the three major parties asking for their positions on seven crucial policy areas:
- Protect our oceans and reefs from accelerating climate change with a rapid transition to renewable energy
- Rule out new thermal coal mines across Australia, including Adani’s
- Clean up water pollution of the Great Barrier Reef
- Restore Australia’s marine sanctuaries
- Protect endangered wildlife from the impacts of fishing and improve fisheries sustainability
- Tackle the plastic pollution of our oceans
- Reform the environmental laws to properly protect Australia’s marine environment
AMCS will review the responses and any public statements and policy documents, before publicly releasing an election scorecard in the weeks before the vote.
Kindleysides added: “Our scorecard will give Australians the information they need so they can vote for cooler and cleaner oceans and make sure our next government gives our Great Barrier Reef a fighting chance.”