6 Marine environment |1 Introduction
State of the Environment 2011 Committee. Australia state of the environment 2011.
Independent report to the Australian Government Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.
Canberra: DSEWPaC, 2011.
Our coastal lands and waters, beaches, bays and inlets hold a special place in Australian culture—for many, the coast is a defining attribute of what it is to be an Australian. Australia's vast ocean territory offers the opportunity to generate wealth, as well as the concomitant responsibility for conservation, management and sustainable use of the environment and living resources.
The majority of our cities and smaller coastal communities rely heavily on coastal waters for economic and recreational pursuits, coastal shipping, energy production and seafood products. Land near the coast—with ocean views and breezes, and easy access to waterways, walks, swimming and surfing beaches—commands a premium value everywhere. The ocean is the inspiration for contemporary music, film, books, stories and legends. The commercial opportunities in tourism, recreational fishing, water sports and the amenity of coastal waterfront lands drive the development patterns of our coastal cities and major towns.
Outside the towns and cities, our natural treasures—such as Fraser Island and the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland; Lord Howe Island and Jervis Bay in New South Wales; the Great Australian Bight in South Australia; Shark Bay, Ningaloo Reef and the Kimberley coast in Western Australia; and many more—stand as icons of Australia's national identity.