New marine parks for NSW

New marine parks are to be created on the New South Wales south coast as part of an environmental package announced by the Premier last night. A total of $30 million has been set aside for new parks on the south coast and at Port Stephens and for finalising the Cape Byron marine park.

The south coast park will cover the southern sections of the Batemans Shelf. There had been speculation for months that the Government was planning to create a marine park around what is known as the Manning Shelf Bio-Region, which is home to 40 per cent of the state’s grey nurse shark population and rare sea bed grasses.

Premier Morris Iemma says the Port Stephens Marine Park will cover 97,000 hectares off the coast of Port Stephens and Great Lakes, and will be formally created tomorrow.

He says work will now begin on finalising a zoning plan for the marine park, outlining where fishing can and cannot take place, and the community will be consulted.

Highlights of the $426 million package announced by Mr Iemma include $105 million for restoring the health of inland rivers and wetlands, $24 million for a greenhouse plan and $76 million for community environmental projects.

There is also provision of $13 million for the voluntary purchase of high-conservation Crown leases and $18 million for cracking down on illegal dumping.

Source: ABC News