south coast nrm stands with the Wudjari people.

South Coast NRM fully supports the Esperance Tjaltjraak Native Title Aboriginal Corporation (ENTAC) in their request for community and political leaders to reject a surge in racist and conspiracy-led rhetoric that has exploded during the debate over plans for the Wudjari Marine Park. Traditional Owners and Aboriginal people in Esperance have reported a significant rise in racist comments on social channels in recent weeks, linked to the release of the draft joint management plan for the South Coast Marine Park.

Under the draft plan, the Wudjari people as represented by ETNTAC will work alongside the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) to jointly manage the Wudjari Marine Park — the third in four connected parks that make up the South Coast Marine Park. Sadly, Aboriginal people have been subject to appalling racist, threatening and vicious social media commentary by people opposed to the plan. “Aboriginal people are being painted as the enemy of commercial interests in town, based on misunderstandings, misinformation, myths and outright lies,” ENTAC CEO Peter Bednall has said.

The proposed South Coast Marine Park fills a critical gap in preserving Western Australia’s fragile south coast marine environment. It will create protective corridors for species and connect existing reserves established by the Commonwealth, while maintaining access for recreational fishers across 95 per cent of the park’s boundaries. The Wudjari people, with full support from South Coast NRM, are urging leaders to stand up and acknowledge the right that Aboriginal people have to a seat at the decision-making table and in the planning for the future of their Country.

To read the full statement from ENATC and an open letter, click on the relevant document below.

Head to the South Coast Marine Park Alliance website to find out more about the proposal.