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Marine Science Plan to guide blue economy

12 August 2015

Joint media release with Parliamentary Secretary the Hon Karen Andrews MP.

Expanding Australia’s valuable “blue economy” while also protecting our oceans is at the core of a National Marine Science Plan launched today.

Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane and Parliamentary Secretary Karen Andrews commended the marine science community and their stakeholders for bringing together a comprehensive 10-year plan to guide Australia’s marine science efforts and help maximise value and manage the growth of marine industries.

“Tourism, shipping, oil and gas, aquaculture and fishing all rely on our oceans, and the contribution of marine-based industries to our economy has doubled in the last decade to around $47 billion,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“As this growth continues, we need to make the right investment and management decisions now to secure balanced benefits in the future.

“This will ensure strong stewardship of the unique marine environments within our 13.86 million square kilometre ocean jurisdiction, which is the third largest in the world.

“The plan examines how Australia’s marine science capabilities can be leveraged to support the sustainable development of the blue economy.

“The National Marine Science Plan outlines the research knowledge and capabilities needed for a better understanding of Australia’s vast marine estate, its ecosystems and resources.

“The plan will inform the mapping of several of the Government’s science and research priority areas and support the broader science agenda, which aims to boost the commercial returns from Australia’s research and capitalise on our $9.7 billion investment this year alone in science, research and innovation.

“This plan presents a way forward for both science and industry to ensure our ocean ecosystems bring economic, cultural and social benefits that are efficient, equitable and sustainable. The Government will consider the report as we continue to develop a comprehensive all-of-Government science strategy.”

Parliamentary Secretary Karen Andrews said the plan was developed by the National Marine Science Committee, which includes Australian Government agencies and representatives from State and Territory Governments and university marine science bodies.

“This plan has brought together our marine science community in a broad consultation process that involved more than 500 scientists and stakeholders,” Mrs Andrews said.

“The plan sets out the seven most significant development and sustainability challenges, including food and energy security, protecting biodiversity, sustainable coastal urban development, climate variability, and marine sovereignty and security.

“Australia is already well placed to meet the complex challenges of managing ocean resources and environments, with its existing network of marine reserves, protective legal framework and policies, and active promotion of this shared issue internationally.

“The Australian Government also continues to support its high-calibre marine science institutions, like the Australian Institute of Marine Science, Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO, Defence Science and Technology Organisation, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Geoscience Australia and university-based research supported through the Australian Research Council.”

Media contacts:
Minister Macfarlane's office  02 6277 7070
Mrs Andrews' office 02 6277 4360