The final say on marine reserves
THE final round of public commentary on the Gillard government's plans to create the world's biggest network of marine reserves has begun.
The Director of National Parks has published a notice in the Australian Government Gazette inviting members of the public to comment on the marine reserves proposal.
In comes after Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke last month announced finer details for the proposed network of marine reserves, which - once proclaimed under national environmental law - will increase Australia's marine reserve network to cover more than a third of Commonwealth waters.
Mr Burke says the Gillard government has conducted a long and detailed consultation process in developing this final proposed network of Commonwealth marine reserves, consulting with thousands of people at more than 250 meetings.
"For generations Australians have understood the need to preserve precious areas on land as national parks and we now have an incredible opportunity to protect the unique marine life in our oceans," Mr Burke said.
"We can ensure that Australia leads the world in marine protection.
"The key principle for me now is very straightforward: 'Do we go ahead with the most comprehensive marine park network in the world or do we not?"
Australia's national environmental law requires one final round of consultation must occurs before the marine reserves network can be proclaimed.
The 60-day public consultation process will close on Monday, September 10.
To lodge a submission go to www.environment.gov.au/marinereserves