Surfers, the largest user contact group of the marine environment in Australia, have been continuously disregarded by government policy makers. Considered to be at the frontline of the coasts, more so than recreational fishers and divers, the opinions of millions of surfers across thousands of beaches in Australia, were being undervalued – and in WA Marine Park policy in particular, concerns go largely ignored.
“It’s a great shame and a slight to the very culture which has come to symbolize so much of our national identity”, said one of Australia’s leading coastal advocates.
Brad Farmer, founder of the Surfrider Foundation, Ocean Care Day and National Surfing Reserves made the comments in Perth today.
“Just this week, we see the Mr Abbott weakening Marine Parks, while in WA, surfers are simply not consulted by DEC when it comes to coasts and marine issues.
“It does not matter if the next week’s PM wears a bikini or budgie smugglers to the beach – the future of the coastal and marine environment hangs in the balance and a new Ministry of Coasts will go some way to pull back the tide of destruction Australia faces in decades to come.”
Mr Farmer said he would call upon whoever became the next Prime Minister to establish a ‘Ministry of Coasts’ in 2011-12. We have 37,000kms of coast comprising vast marine resources across some 10,685 beaches – the coast is one of Australia’s greatest generators of income and pleasure. Australia has the world’s foremost coastal lifestyle culture and the largest number of surfers per capita in the world where 90% of the population live on the coastline.
“We have specific Ministers for Climate Change, Ministers for Lands – it is high time the marine and coasts where acknowledged appropriately at state and federal level with a Minister for Coasts”, Mr Farmer said. “With climate change/sea level rises/demographic ‘sea change’ – the coast now needs new and special attention with national focus and funding.”
Mr Farmer cited the example in Western Australia, where after 2 years of lobbying, the Barnett-Grylls Government had not supported the establishment of National Surfing Reserves, while in other states and countries, the program had been a runaway success.
“Surfers – particularly In Western Australia are being short changed by their government.
Further: Brad Farmer 0413 031870