The South-east Commonwealth Marine Parks Network is a patchwork of poor protection that provides minimal conservation benefits.
Despite its large coverage, impactful human activities continue almost unabated. A lack of protection in adjacent Tasmanian waters further diminishes marine conservation in the region.
Tasmania has the poorest levels of marine protection of any Australian jurisdiction. Only 1.1% of Tasmanian state waters are fully protected, yet there has been a moratorium on any new marine parks since 2014. This incongruence between the Tasmanian and Australian Governments’ approaches to habitat protection directly impacts the effectiveness of the South-east Network, and the Tasmanian Government should be held to account.
The proposed expansion of the Macquarie Island Marine Park is to be commended, but the Australian Government must vastly improve the broader South-east Network if comprehensive, adequate and representative marine biodiversity conservation is to be achieved in the region.
The Australia Institute recommends a significant increase in fully protected areas, greater state government accountability, and full implementation of the proposed Macquarie Island Marine Park expansion.