Joint media release: Protecting our unique marine environment

5 October 2021

The Hon Sussan Ley MP, Minister for the Environment
The Hon Nola Marino MP, Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories


The Morrison Government takes another giant step in its commitment to oceans today, unveiling detailed proclamation plans for marine parks covering 744,000 square kilometres, an area more than three times the size of United Kingdom and twice the size of the Great Barrier Reef.

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said that after months of community consultation and scientific analysis, Parks Australia is releasing the proclamation proposal for two marine parks in Australia’s Indian Ocean Territories (Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands) for public consultation.

“We are looking to protect a unique national treasure that is home to marine life found nowhere else on earth,” Minister Ley said.

“These marine areas are uniquely located where the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean currents overlap, and they are the only place where corals from both oceans are found together as well as being a critical spawning area for blue-fin tuna.

“If proclaimed, they will see almost half Australia’s marine waters (45%) designated as protected areas, extending what is already one of the largest network of marine protected areas in the world.

Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories, Nola Marino said the new marine parks would complement work underway to explore opportunities for increased research and education in the Indian Ocean Territories.

“One of the community’s goals is to explore options to expand national and international research leveraging on the region’s unique natural marine and terrestrial environment, while also helping to drive the local economy forward,” Assistant Minister Marino said.

To submit public comment (open until December 6)

For information about research and education opportunities visit: https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/territories-regions-cities/territories/indian-ocean-territories/research