Nature Conservation Council of NSW welcomes NSW Labor's Marine Conservation Policy


The Nature Conservation Council of NSW has welcomed State Labor’s Marine Conservation Policy, which was launched today by Shadow Environment Minister Luke Foley.

“Labor has set a new minimum standard for marine conservation in NSW that we believe the Baird government should match, or even better,” said NCC CEO Kate Smolski.


Mr Foley announced Labor’s Marine Conservation Policy during a panel discussion at the NCC annual conference that included NSW Environment Minister Rob Stokes and Greens MLC Mehreen Faruqi.

The ALP policy includes six key objectives to:

  1. Create a marine park for Sydney stretching from the Hawkesbury River to Port Hacking.
  2. End the moratorium on the creation of new marine parks.
  3. Restore full protections to marine sanctuary zones.
  4. Enhance protections for seabird breeding colonies and nesting areas on islands, headlands and beaches.
  5. Investigate legislative protection for the endangered hawksbill turtle.
  6. Reinstate protections for the critically endangered grey nurse shark on the Mid-North Coast.

“Marine conservation has gone backwards in NSW over the past three years while the threats to our precious marine life have increased,” she said.

“State Labor’s policy would restore many protections that existed prior to the last election and include a vision for a marine park for the Sydney region, which we fully support.”

Ms Smolski said Labor’s support for a marine park for Sydney created an historic opportunity for a bipartisan approach to protecting one of Australia’s great icons.

“Premier Mike Baird is now guaranteed support in parliament for a Sydney Marine Park if he is prepared to make take that historic step.

“Protection of our most important marine areas enjoys almost universal support in the community. A Galaxy poll in 2014 found 93 per cent of people in NSW support marine sanctuaries, while support among recreational fishers was only slightly less, at 91 per cent.

“We are excited by the prospect of the marine park proposal achieving bipartisan support, and we look forward to hearing how the Baird government will respond to this opportunity.”

Ms Smolski said the government’s own scientists recommended in a 2012 report that the Sydney region’s marine life be given special protection.

“Marine parks are a great way of protecting our coastal lifestyle,” she said. “They are a way to manage marine ecosystems so we can continue snorkeling, fishing, diving, and boating in these beautiful areas long into the future.