Oceans and Marine Parks

  • Labor has a proud record of ocean protection in government, including creating the world’s largest network of marine parks when last in government.

  • An Albanese Government will work with stakeholders on management plans for the new Christmas Island and Cocos/Keeling Islands marine parks, renew efforts for protection of the East Antarctic Region, and take steps to progress international agreements on marine litter and microplastics.

  • Labor’s commitments will support the health and biodiversity of Australia’s oceans and the life they support, including our own.

Why we need this

The Liberal-National Government reduced the highly protected areas of Australia's marine park network by half, cut 40% of funding to the Department of Environment, failed to prevent iconic species like the Australian sea lion becoming endangered, and have done nothing to stop an increase in plastic waste and a fall in the rate of plastic recycling.

Australia’s incredible oceans and the biodiversity they support are under increasing pressure, including from plastic pollution and climate change, which makes it vital that we repudiate the environmental neglect of the Morrison government and step-up the application of effective protection and restoration measures. 

The details

Labor in government has a longstanding and proud record when it comes to ocean protection, including the prevention of mining or military activity in Antarctica, and the creation of the world’s largest network of marine parks. 

Through our enduring commitment to Australia’s oceans, an Albanese Labor Government will:

  • work with stakeholders to complete the management plans for the new marine parks in the Christmas Island and Cocos/Keeling Islands;

  • provide $4 million to states and territory governments, like the Northern Territory, to address existing capacity shortcomings in managing state marine parks, which will protect fisheries impacted by ocean warming and will stimulate tourism in coastal areas;

  • renew efforts to establish a marine park in the East Antarctic Region;

  • undertake timely and properly resourced reviews of the marine park management plans for Heard and McDonalds Islands and for Macquarie Island;

  • ensure the statutory review processes of the national marine parks network are carried out in a timely and consultative manner, with any changes considered on the basis of science and stakeholder consultation;

  • work with states to assess the adequacy of the protection that covers breeding and feeding grounds, including coastal zones and ecosystems like seagrass, kelp forests, mangroves, and offshore sites like reefs and zones where ocean currents meet;

  • consider a framework that addresses the importation of seafood from fisheries that involve illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing practices; and

  • play an active leadership role in supporting negotiations towards both a international agreement on the High Seas and on Marine Litter and Microplastics.

These initiatives will work in combination with Labor’s $200 million urban rivers and catchments fund, our plan to conserve the Great Barrier Reef, and our commitment to legislate net zero by 2050, with a matching 2030 emission reduction target.

Taken together these actions and programs will reinstate a proper emphasis on the health and biodiversity of Australia’s oceans and the life they support, including our own.