Heathcote residents, businesses and community groups have the opportunity to have their say on the new proposed marine park, which would include 25 sites from Newcastle to Wollongong and aim to enhance marine biodiversity.

These 25 sites have been carefully analysed by the NSW Marine Estate Management Authority following extensive community consultation, and now we want to hear whether they meet the community’s expectations.

With Heathcote included in the proposal I strongly encourage residents to take part in the community consultation and have their say on ways to protect our marine environment.

In Heathcote we’re lucky to have some iconic landscapes and amazing wildlife in our own backyard, and we want to ensure this continues for years to come. The proposed marine park will protect a wide variety of marine habitats, safeguarding the best examples of our unique marine biodiversity. It is also intended to benefit local business owners by promoting the beauty and importance of the marine biodiversity of this region.

The NSW Government has also unveiled details of $45.7 million of additional funding to deliver the first stage of a ten-year Marine Estate Management Strategy. The nine initiatives will address the major threats to our estuaries, beaches and coastal waters, especially from pollution and marine litter.

The ten-year strategy also aims to deliver healthy coastal habitats and sustainable land use, plan for climate change, protect Aboriginal cultural values of the marine estate, reduce impacts on marine life, enhance social, cultural and economic benefits and deliver effective governance.

Developing this strategy involved a great deal of consultation with a variety of stakeholders, including local community groups, Traditional Owners, industry bodies, environmental groups, scientists and government agencies.

The message from all of these stakeholders was loud and clear: the marine estate is very valuable to our community so we need action now to maintain its value into the future.

If you are interested in hearing more about the local proposed marine park, there will be two information booths on Sunday, 16 September 2018:

• 8:00-11:00am Bundeena – Start of Wedding Cake Rock walk
• 11:30 – 2:30pm Audley – Visitor’s Centre

Anyone can have their say on the proposed marine park by completing the online submission form available at Have Your Say. Submissions close 11.45pm of 27 September 2018.

Click here to view the proposed marine park sites