29 June 2012, 09:30 BST
All rights reserved. Credit: © Image courtesy of Tourism Queensland
For a long time organisations like Greenpeace, backed by people like you, have been calling for stronger protection of our oceans.
Last week showed our voices were heard. The Australian environment minister Tony Burke announced what is a genuinely significant step forward for ocean protection, not only for Australia, but in global terms. From Cronulla to the Kimberley, the marine planning process has delivered some of the largest protected ocean zones in some of the world's most pristine marine ecosystems.
Firstly, a big thanks to all those who put their names to one of the most expansive environmental campaigns Australia has seen in recent years. Close to 20 environmental organisations were directly involved and well over half a million individuals supported the national marine reserves process. This is a phenomenal effort.
The overall outcome:
The Australian government's plan shows that people's concerns for our oceans were genuinely considered. A huge number of submissions to save our Coral Sea resulted in some great new measures for that region - for instance, there are new 'no-take' areas around some important, yet previously ignored, reefs. Yet what the plan also shows is that Australia remains a quarry nation in the eyes of government and our oceans are big business. The plan opens the gate for massive mineral developments in some of our most vulnerable waters.
The good bits:
The not-so-good bits:
In short, this marine park plan is one to be welcomed. We celebrate many of the advancements in marine protection, particularly around the Coral Sea. But what could have been a truly groundbreaking plan fell short.
Clearly the resources industry continues to call the shots in Australia. We will never have true marine protection if we allow mining developments to take place in some of our most pristine areas, such as the Great Barrier Reef and the Ningaloo-Pilbara and Kimberley coastlines.
Source: Green Peace UK