Kimberley Region To Gain Four Marine Parks

Kimberley Region To Gain Four Marine Parks

Western Australia Minister for Environment Bill Marmion

Minister Reaffirms Commitment To Kimberley Conservation Strategy

Victor P Taffa

Environment Minister Bill Marmion is in the Kimberley to meet key stakeholders as part of the development of the State Government’s Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy.

The strategy is a Government commitment to ensure the Kimberley’s natural environment is conserved.  Mr. Marmion said this included initiatives already under way.

These included the progression of the creation of four Marine Parks at Camden Sound, the North Kimberley, Roebuck Bay and Eighty Mile Beach, and converting Prince Regent Nature Reserve to an A-class National Park.

“The new Marine Parks will nearly treble the area of Marine Parks and reserves in Western Australia from 1.5 Million hectares to 4.1 Million hectares.” the Minister said.

“The strategy also places a heavy emphasis on engaging with traditional owners and Aboriginal rangers in the management of parks, in partnership with the Department of Environment and Conservation.”

“There have been ongoing discussions with traditional owners, pastoralists and the community.” Mr. Marmion said.

“The wet season has provided an opportunity to plan for upgraded visitor facilities announced last October, to be ready for implementation as soon as the season allows.”

Mr. Marmion said the indicative management plan for the proposed Camden Sound Marine Park had been released for a three-month public consultation period, and encouraged people to have their say on the park’s management.  The comment period is open until February 1, 2011.

The indicative Camden Sound Marine Park Management Plan proposes various zones within the 700,000ha Park.

The Marine Park will protect the incredible seascape of Camden Sound, the St. George Basin, the spectacular Montgomery Reef and one of the world’s biggest calving places for humpback whales.

“So far DEC has received more than 440 submissions which indicate there is a high degree of community interest in the creation of the Park.” Mr. Marmion said.

“After the public comment period closes, these submissions will be used by the Marine Parks and Reserves Authority to prepare a final plan for Government consideration.”

“It is expected a final plan will be released and the park created later this year.” Mr. Marmion said.

During his visit to the Kimberley, Mr. Marmion will meet with representatives of the Kimberley Land Council and Goolarabooloo Jabirr Jabirr traditional owners; the shires of Broome and Derby-West Kimberley; and the Dambimangari native title claimants.

Mr. Marmion said he looked forward to the announcement of further initiatives under the Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy in the near future.