Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Sir Richard Branson launches Australian Government's Oceans Video

Media release
10 May 2013

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke today joined Sir Richard Branson to launch the Australian Government’s oceans video celebrating the creation of the world’s largest network of Marine Parks.

Sir Richard Branson, the founder and Chairman of Virgin Group and a member of OceanElders, joined Mr Burke today at the Sydney Aquarium to highlight the importance of protecting our oceans across the world.

OceanElders is an independent group of global leaders who have joined together to serve as a catalyst in the conservation and protection of the ocean and its wildlife.

The Australian Government last year proclaimed the network of marine parks to protect more than 2.3 million square kilometres of ocean environment.

Mr Burke said the Australian Government's oceans video will raise awareness of the importance of creating the world’s largest network of marine parks.

“Most of the damage to our oceans has happened in the space of one lifetime. Global over-fishing, pollution and acidification conspire to threaten what is about 70 per cent of our planet's surface,” Mr Burke said.

“Turning the corner is a massive international project and establishing national parks in the ocean is one of the first critical steps that can make a real difference.

“Australia has established the most comprehensive network of ocean national parks in the world. It has only been possible because of the commitment of those who have lent their voice to be protectors of the ocean.

“These reforms in Australia are not a conclusion but part of a global need to act. That global need has been promoted and given a voice by the Ocean Elders, with none more prominent than Sir Richard Branson.

“The environment doesn't speak for itself until it’s too late. The work of Sir Richard Branson is being acknowledged by Australia because of his foresight in encouraging all countries to protect the ocean while we still can.”

Mr Burke presented Sir Richard Branson with the first ever Australian Government Global Ocean Protector Award, recognising a devoted and tireless environmental campaigner.

Mr Branson said it's no surprise that Australia is leading the world again.

“I love Australia, I visit there often and one of the things I love about it is the environment,” Mr Branson said.

“You don’t find this kind of pristine, beautiful place, brimming with life in many places and each year it seems we lose another one.

“This plan will join the Coral Sea and Great Barrier Reef to create one of the largest marine reserves anywhere in the world.

“It's hard to express how wonderful that makes myself feel and certainly we should all be proud that we are part of a society that is willing to care about our environment on a scale that really does make a huge difference.

“I’m happy to support this marine national park and I hope you will join all of us in whatever way you can to keep it the wonderful place it is for generations to come.”

The Australian Government's oceans video features messages of support from prominent environmental campaigners including Clean Up Australia Day founder Ian Kiernan, Olympic gold medal swimmer Brooke Hanson, Sir Richard Branson, musicians Jackson Brown and Neil Young, actor Jackie Chan and ocean explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau.

See the video: Australia's Marine Park Network