Australia’s comprehensive national network of marine reserves which was established in 2012 – then suspended by the Abbott Government in 2013 – will be reinstated in full if Labor wins next month’s federal election.

“Australia has one of the world’s most unique, biodiverse and intact marine environments but our marine life is under threat from pollution and global warming and from exploration for fossil fuels and the expansion of commercial fishing,” said Australian Conservation Foundation healthy ecosystems campaigner Jess Abrahams.

“ACF has a proud history of working to protect our oceans and warmly welcomes this week’s announcements from Labor and the Greens to fully reinstate the national network of marine reserves that was declared in 2012 – then suspended by the Abbott Government a year later.”

To support the re-establishment of the marine reserves network, the Greens have announced a $140 million management and compensation package, while Labor has pledged to fully reinstate the original $100 million Fisheries Adjustment Package.

“Marine reserves are good for the environment and for recreational fishing because the reserves provide breeding havens for fish, which then spill out into areas where fishing is permitted,” Mr Abrahams said.

“The strong marine commitments made by Labor and Greens are good news for all Australians who love oceans and want to protect our sensitive and beautiful marine life.

“In the May budget the government committed $56 million for marine park implementation and commercial fishing adjustment, but the Coalition has said it will not release any detail of its proposed changes to marine reserves until after the election.

“With the release of strong Labor and Greens policies, pressure is mounting on the Coalition to lift its suspension of the marine reserves and commit to fully fund and implement existing management plans.”

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