PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 5690


Photo of Fraser, Malcolm

Fraser, Malcolm

Period of Service: 11/11/1975 to 11/03/1983

More information about Fraser, Malcolm on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 15/11/1981

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 5690

The Commonwealth Government took the decision to proceed without
further delay towards proclamation of the Cairns section of
the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park after about two years of
' discussion and negotiation with the Queensland government
about the boundaries. We felt that it was time for decisions
to be made and I had indicated earlier in the year that the
Commonwealth's patience was not inexhaustible.
The proclamation of the Cairns section will open the way
to the development of management and zoning arrangements by
the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, and I hope
Queenslanders will be very much involved in the planning of
these arrangements. In developing this plan, the Authority
will be seeking public subsmissions, and a draft will be
published in due course for further public comment. The management
and zoning arrangements will be designed to protect the Reef,
and as with the Capricornia section, there will be perfectly
satisfactory provision for recreation, shipping, touring,
commercial and amateur fishing and other activities.
The proclamation of the Cairns section will be a further
significant step in the strategy of progressive proclamation
of the various sections of the whole Great Barrier Reef Marine
Park. Since 1975, the whole of the Reef has been protected by
the Commonwealth Government under the Great Barrier Reef Marine
Park Act. The strategy of proclamation by sections provides scope
for effective and realistic planning, and enables the Authority
to take account of the special requirements of each particular
section of an enormous marine park area.
The planning itself takes time eighteen months to two years
in the case of the Capricornia section and the further delays
caused by this part of the whole process makes it even more
important that the decision to proclaim the Cairns section
should be taken now.
The selection of the boundaries of the Cairns section of the
marine park has been made only after the most careful consideration
of alternatives by the Government and by the Great Barrier
Reef Marine Park Authority. The only point at issue was whether
the western boundary along the 550 kilometre coastline should be the ic
water mark on the mainrand or a line some distance off the coast.
And in th2 event, the actual area in dispute affects only 30" of
that 550 kilometre coastline. / 2

The Commonwealth Government has taken the view that this
boundary would go . out five kilometres from the coast for
about two thirds of its length, but that th-e low water mark
on the mainland must form the boundary where features of
ecological significance are involved, and some of these areas
which need protection right up to the low water mark are
adjacent to land areas that Queensland has itself designated
as national park. Among the ecological features included
will be the sea grass beds north of Cape Flattery, which are
an important habitat for Dugong an internationally
recognisedendangered species, and high quality reefs fringing
the mainland and islands. The marine park concept and the way
it is being implemented will ensure the conservation, of the . Ree
ecosystem. The decision that has been made is a reasonable one, and it
takes account of all the interests and issues involved. It is
decision which deserved the support of the whole community
and the concern for the Reef which all Australians share will
now be best served if all parties work together to get the righL
management arrangements into operation.

Transcript 5690