Climate change - Ningaloo Reef

Extract from Hansard
[COUNCIL — Tuesday, 22 November 2011]
Hon Lynn MacLaren; Hon Helen Morton


4858. Hon Lynn MacLaren to the Minister for Mental Health representing the Minister for Environment
With reference to the Climate Commission report entitled ‘The Critical Decade — Western Australia Climate
Change Impacts’ (August 2011), and in particular to findings in relation to Ningaloo Reef on page 12 of the
report, I ask —

(1) Will the Minister ensure that a climate change action strategy is developed for Ningaloo Marine Park as
has been done for the Great Barrier Reef?

(2) If no to (1), why not?

(3) If yes to (1), what is the anticipated time frame for delivery of such a strategy?

(4) What actions does the Minister intend to take to respond to the Climate Commission’s findings on the
impacts of climate change on the Ningaloo Reef?

(5) How will the Minister ensure that strategies are in place to protect —

(a) reef health; and

(b) the viability of the marine tourism industry?

(6) What assistance and guidance will be provided to the tourism industry to enable it to adapt and respond
to climate-related risks?

Hon HELEN MORTON replied:

The Minister for Environment has provided the following response:

(1)–(4) The Government is developing a Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Strategy for Western
Australia which will establish a Statewide strategic framework. Climate change impacts and strategies
will be addressed in future revisions of the Ningaloo Marine Park Management Plan, drawing in
particular on research through the Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI) that has
examined the expected impacts of climate change on WA’s marine environment as well as improved
our understanding of the Ningaloo Reef ecosystem.

Research and monitoring strategies are currently in place for Ningaloo Marine Park through the
Department of Environment and Conservation’s (DEC) Marine Science Program. WAMSI is
developing further research proposals for consideration by the Government.

(5) (a) The atmospheric impacts on the reef, such as increasing CO2 causing an increase in ocean
temperature, can only be mitigated on an international scale. Monitoring and research
programs are in place to detect the frequency and severity of change in the form of bleaching
events and coral and fish community composition over time. Monitoring and research findings
are incorporated into management of the marine park.

(b) The health of the reef and the sustainability of the tourism industry are inextricably linked.
Commercial tourism operators who operate in Ningaloo Marine Park have in place sustainable
strategies and practices to ensure the viability and longevity of the tourism industry. Restricted
licence operators have sustainability conditions attached to their licences against which they
are audited annually by a qualified environmental auditor.

(6) DEC and Tourism Western Australia have worked together to produce online information including a
dedicated climate change page on Tourism Western Australia’s website. This site provides guidance to
the tourism industry and information on tools and resources available to enable it to adapt and respond
to climate related risks.