Friday, June 15, 2012

World's Biggest Marine Reserves Network

I welcome yesterday’s announcement by the Australian Government of the world’s largest network of marine reserves which will ensure protection of Australia’s most precious ocean environments.

The inclusion in the Coral Sea network of Osprey and Shark Reef is something I lobbied for and spoke about in the Parliament. I have attached a copy of this speech for your information. Protection of these iconic reefs in the Coral Sea Marine Reserve is important for both marine turtles and large ocean predators.

The new marine reserves take the overall size of the Commonwealth marine reserves network to 3.1 million square kilometres, by far the largest representative network of marine protected areas in the world.

Together the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the Coral Sea Commonwealth marine reserve will become the largest adjoining marine protected area in the world, covering 1.3 million square kilometres.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Melbourne’s Quality of Life Under Siege

The Baillieu Government is displaying a disregard for Melbourne’s quality of life by both unveiling plans to extend Melbourne’s urban boundary and allowing Government-owned businesses to sell off public land.

It will be the fourth time the boundary has been shifted since 2002, and makes a joke of claims that all that high rise we are allowing will save us from urban sprawl. We are getting both high rise and urban sprawl!

Urban sprawl gives us more communities isolated from reliable transport services and highly car dependant, as well as clogged, congested inner suburb streets, and leaves new communities without adequate facilities.

Urban sprawl eats into the Green Wedges – areas set aside by the Victorian Government in 1967 to be forever protected from development. How ironic that it was a visionary Liberal Party Premier, Dick Hamer, who established the Green Wedges.

We need to retain Green Wedges as permanent wedges between growth corridors, not as potential urban land supply that is bulldozed as soon as there is a demand for it. The fact that new suburbs are being announced to house another 100,000 people shows that our migrant worker programs are bringing people to Melbourne rather than to the Pilbara.

The Baillieu Government has also failed to deliver a pre-election promise to establish a State Register of Significant Public Land and to require Ministers to spell out to Parliament why any public land is to be sold off. This promise needs to be honoured!

A current example is public land close to Kororoit Ceek in Sunshine, prized by local residents for over three decades as a place of community recreation, that is now targeted for development.

It should be retained as open space, as should other similar public open space, which allows people to breathe and find refuge close at hand from hectic urban life.