Australia is proposing to create the largest network of marine parks in the world.

The 60 marine parks would span 3.1 million square kilometres, with the hope that it will protect marine life from waters that have changed chemically over time.

Tony Burke, Australia's Environment Minister, announced the plans at a press conference on 14 June.

"This is a massive step forward in ocean protection. It's a bigger step forward than the globe has ever previously seen. Australia is a good manager of its fisheries but that doesn't mean we can't go a step further and establish a national parks estate within the ocean."

Among the areas to be protected will be the Great Barrier Reef, a 2,600 km stretch of coral reef, the largest in the world. The United Nations had previously warned that the natural wonder was under threat from industrial development.