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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

3 December 2000

GREAT BARRIER REEF MARINE PARK EXTENDED


The Federal Government has moved to include six new areas within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park as part of its ongoing efforts to enhance the protection of biodiversity in the world's largest World Heritage area.

The areas, which are sited between the far north of Queensland to Gladstone, will become officially proclaimed by the end of January.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill said the newly proclaimed areas will add almost 1,300 square kilometres to the Marine Park and mark another milestone in the Commonwealth's $50 million Oceans Policy.

"The inclusion of these coastal waters will significantly assist with the maintenance of World Heritage values and safeguard the Park's biodiversity," Senator Hill said.

"The biodiversity of the marine park varies greatly in the area stretching from Far North Queensland to Facing Island, Gladstone.

"These areas boast impressive fringing reefs and significant dugong habitats."

The inclusion of the six new areas is an important step in the implementation of the Government's election commitment to include 28 previously excluded areas in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Recreational and commercial fishing in the six new areas will generally not be affected, although permits will be required for activities including buildings, pontoons and mooring facilities.

The new areas are:

Weymouth Section from Cape Weymouth to Weymouth Bay, adjacent to the Far Northern section, includes fringing reef systems.

Bathurst Head Section which stretches from Bathurst Bay to the mouth of the Normanby River, adjacent to the Far Northern Section and a significant dugong and fish habitat.

Cooktown Section around Cooktown and adjacent to the Cairns section.

Clump Point Section near Mission Beach and adjacent to the Cairns section, predominantly in its natural state and includes soft sediment communities.

Broad Sound Section near Shoalwater Bay, adjacent to the Mackay/Capricorn section.

Curtis Island Section, near Facing Island, Gladstone, and adjacent to the Mackay/Capricorn section, includes coastal fringing reefs.

December 3, 2000

Contact: Belinda Huppatz (Senator Hill's office) 0419 258364

Commonwealth of Australia