Ministers for the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities The Hon Michael McCormack MP Deputy Prime MinisterMinister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie Minister for Regional ServicesMinister for SportMinister for Local Government and Decentralisation The Hon Alan Tudge MP Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population The Hon Sussan Ley MP Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories The Hon Andrew Broad MP Former Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister The Hon Scott Buchholz MP Assistant Minister for Roads and Transport The Hon Barnaby Joyce MPFormer Deputy Prime MinisterFormer Minister for Infrastructure and Transport The Hon Dr John McVeigh MPFormer Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government The Hon Keith Pitt MPFormer Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister The Hon Damian Drum MPFormer Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister Senator the Hon Fiona Nash Former Minister for Regional DevelopmentFormer Minister for Local Government and Territories The Hon Darren Chester MP Former Minister for Infrastructure and TransportFormer A/g Minister for Regional DevelopmentFormer A/g Minister for Local Government and Territories The Hon Warren Truss MP Former Deputy Prime Minister Former Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development The Hon Paul Fletcher MP Former Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities The Hon Jamie Briggs MP Former Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development

Government expands protection for the Coral Sea

Media Release


16 May 2015

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has agreed to the Australian Government's proposed extension of the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) to protect the South West Coral Sea.

Overnight the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee in London agreed to the new arrangements, which will see an additional 565,000 square kilometres of the South-West Coral Sea added to the existing Great Barrier Reef and Torres strait PSSA—a 140% increase on the current 403,000 square kilometres.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the adoption of the new PSSA will better protect this beautiful and unique oceanic region.

“The Coral Sea is one of the world's most distinctive and undisturbed marine ecosystems,” Mr Truss said.

“It behoves us to do all we can to reasonably and responsibly protect one of our greatest natural resources.

“Our new measures enhance protection for the Coral Sea—as well as the adjacent Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area—by helping ships traverse the region safely and avoid potentially hazardous areas.

“This is a concrete example of the Australian Government taking the necessary steps to protect the Great Barrier Reef, implementing measures outlined in the North East Shipping Management Plan released in October 2014.”

Designation as a PSSA helps to protect seas where significant ecological, socio-economic or scientific attributes may be vulnerable to damage by international shipping. The Great Barrier Reef was declared the world's first PSSA in 1990.

Three Associated Protective Measures will support the new PSSA, including a new Area to be Avoided and two supporting two-way routes. These measures will enhance ship safety by keeping traffic away from the many reefs, cays, islets, sandbars and shoal patches within the area.

This reduces the risk of groundings and allows more time for intervention in developing situations, such as a ship suffering a mechanical breakdown.

The PSSA will come into effect once the Associated Protective Measures are adopted by the IMO Maritime Safety Committee, expected in June. The APMs would come into effect six months later.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) represents Australia at the IMO to develop standards for ship safety, prevention of marine pollution from ships, search and rescue and maritime communications.

For more information on the new PSSA, AMSA has produced a 7:18 minute video detailing the proposal. Watch on YouTube at:

A broadcast quality download is also available at: