25 February 2023


Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek urgently needs to reverse course, following today’s revelations that she has been responsible for yet another broken promise by the Albanese Government.

Letters publicly released now show that Ms Plibersek’s plan to triple the size of the Macquarie Island Marine Park represents a complete about-face from clear promises made by Labor immediately before the 2022 Federal election.

On 19 May 2022 and 29 April 2022 respectively, then Shadow Agriculture Minister, Julie Collins, and then Shadow Assistant Environment Minister, Josh Wilson, promised that:

while in the lead-up to the 2019 election, (Labor) believed there was scope to consider adjustments to marine park zoning, we accept that since that time the network has been delivered in a settled form” and that in relation to “adjustments to (marine) park boundaries … certainty in park management is critical and we don’t intend to revisit that matter”.

Ms Plibersek’s announcement this week has completely pulled the rug out from under those commitments, chaotically leaving multiple users of the Marine Park rightly outraged as well as confused and uncertain about their future.

As a number of the affected fishing companies and organisations have said, Ms Plibersek has not only broken Labor’s word – but she also arrogantly continues to show no interest in undertaking serious or meaningful consultation.

“This is a shameless betrayal of the commitments that Labor quite transparently made during the 2022 Federal election campaign,” said Shadow Environment, Fisheries and Forestry Minister, Jonno Duniam.

“Ms Plibersek’s approach to her portfolios is a complete mess, and reflects a much greater interest in continual PR stunts than sensible policymaking.”

“Regrettably, she also seems quite unaware of the history of the Macquarie Island Marine Park, which has actually already proved one of the world’s greatest success stories in balanced environmental and economic management.”