Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson MP says the final report on the Government’s review of Commonwealth Marine Reserves has delivered overwhelming benefits for the Great Southern.
The majority of the changes proposed by the independent Bioregional Advisory Panel for the Bremer CMR have been adopted in the new management plans approved by the Federal Minister for Environment, Josh Frydenberg.
The Marine National Park Zone at Bremer, which previously comprised 6.25 per cent of the total marine reserve, will increase to 70.93 per cent, an increase of nearly 3000 square kilometres.
Additionally, the area outside of the Marine National Park Zone will comprise two separate Special Purpose Zones, while oil, gas and mineral exploration will be excluded from the entire reserve.
The only change to the final draft proposed by the Bioregional Advisory Panel will be the removal of a scallop trawl zone.
The Minister granted Mr Wilson’s request to remove a scallop trawl zone from the reserve, a feature included in the independent panel’s original proposal that was comprehensively opposed by the community.
Mr Wilson said the changes were a major win for the Great Southern and thanked the Bremer community for leading an outstanding grassroots campaign.
“The local community really were instrumental in the changes that have been announced by the Minister for Environment,” he said.
“They instigated a compelling campaign that helped me convince the Minister that the overwhelming consensus was that this unique marine environment needed to be preserved and protected.
“All of the requests for protection that we put forward have been honoured and I couldn’t be happier with the changes that the Minister is proposing to implement.
“I want to acknowledge Craig Lebens and the wider Bremer community for their efforts in securing an outstanding outcome for the South Coast.”
The Government has introduced the proposed changes for all 44 of the Commonwealth Marine Reserves to the Senate.
While Labor and the Greens are likely to introduce a disallowable instrument blocking the changes, Mr Wilson expects this motion to be defeated and the new management plans to be implemented.