Sail-World.com : Australian Marine Alliance calls on govt to support Christensen’s bill
Australian Marine Alliance calls on govt to support Christensen’s bill
Gillard Labor and Greens want transparency, good Government and to protect the environment? Then stop playing games and support Christensen’s bill!
The Australian Marine Alliance (AMA) called on the Gillard Labor Government and the Greens to stop hunting with the hounds and running with fox and support George Christensen’s Marine Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Making Marine Parks Accountable) Bill 2012.
Chief Executive of the AMA Dean Logan, 'What’s ironic is that we can debate a hastily drafted bill within two days over a super trawler and yet the declaration of the largest marine reserve network in the world and Australian history by the Environment Minister, is not subject to a single ounce of Parliamentary scrutiny or debate. Funny how the Greens say little about that.
'In light of the super trawler debacle and the absence of science driven public policy in and around the marine
park process George Christensen’s bill warrants being debated by the Parliament for the following reasons:
1. Industry has been asking for over 3 years for the science underpinning the largest marine reserve network
declaration in the world to be made transparent and yet it hasn’t;
2. The relationship between the Department of Environment and Bureau of Rural Sciences is treated by
Minister Burke as confidential;
3. The regulatory impact statement process has been independently reviewed and deemed to be a shameful
process. In fact in a letter to Minister Burke last week Prof. Bob Kearney noted:
a. In summary it is apparent that this RIS does not meet the public’s expectations, or the
Government’s requirements, for thorough and unbiased assessment of the options for addressing
the problem central to the RIS. Rather the RIS demonstrates advocacy for more marine reserves
even though this advocacy is based on serial and serious misinterpretation of the available
evidence, including the literature cited in the RIS. It is obvious from examination of the evidence
referred to in the RIS that the real threats to Australia’s marine biodiversity and ecosystems will
not be adequately or appropriately addressed by the network of marine reserves.
4. The Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) that gave industry access to Canberra public servants was
disbanded with no notice by this Government and has not met since march 2010;
5. The scientific reference panel established for the South East Bio-Region by the Howard Government was
disbanded by Federal Labor without notice;
6. The entire process has been plagued by private dinners and the release of ‘confidential maps’ by public
servants based in Hobart, which has done little but erode any remaining trust in the process;
18 September 2012
7. Minister Burke noted to industry leaders in Queensland that: 'The Coral Sea closure was the price
industry had to pay for ‘deals’ he had done in the temperate east.' And yet according to the Greens and
Labor, the entire marine park process is ‘science driven’;
8. The ABARES socio-economic assessment of the marine reserve network was based on
‘contemporaneous notes’ and yet the decision is projected to cost industry $4.3BN and 36,000 jobs;
9. The Cairns Regional Council themselves noted in an independent economic assessment 8 weeks ago that
the Tony Burke led marine reserve process would cost the region $1BN alone and yet it is not subject to
any level of Parliamentary scrutiny and will effect over 110 additional local councils and communities;
10. Within 2 weeks of Minister Burke announcing the claytons consultation process, the USA Tuna Purseseine
Fleet cut a $630M compensation deal in the South Pacific to catch the fish Minister Burke said our
fisherman couldn’t catch;
11. Within 4 weeks of Minister Burke’s announcement a Thai and Philippine consortium set up a JV to can
380 metric tonnes of tuna per day in PNG – the tuna Minister Burke says our fisherman can’t catch;
12. Within a week of the announcement a charter boat operator in Cairns lost $220,000 via cancellations
thanks to Minister Burke’s ‘science driven process’ over the Coral Sea;
13. The Government has not identified a single threat to substantiate large-scale marine closures;
14. Moreover, UNESCO themselves indicated Australia’s marine environment is not threatened by fishing at
all, but rather land based externalities like acid sulphate soils and coastal development;
15. Australia imports in-excess of 70% of it’s seafood and yet compensation for consumers and how to
address our food security concerns has not been addressed in any way by Tony Burke;
16. Within days of closing millions of sq/kms of ocean to fisherman the Gillard Government issued hundreds
of new oil and gas leases throughout the same Australian marine environment.
Mr Logan concluded, 'The list goes on and on but one thing is for certain – Labor and the Greens have traded the
environment for inner city preferences and that’s inexcusable. George Christensen’s bill returns balance and
fairness to marine conservation, so that all Australians can have confidence that the best decisions are being made
to protect both our marine biodiversity and the fishers and communities that feed so many Australians.
'This bill enshrines a raft of checks and balances that have been taken out by Labor for political currency. The Australian Greens and Christine Milne must now clearly state why they will NOT support a bill that delivers scientific, economic and most importantly environmental certainty.
'How is it that not one single elected federal representative, except for Tony Burke, has a say over the
proclamation of the largest marine reserve network in Australian history? Take the process to Parliament and
debate Christensen’s bill. Only then will communities, industry and fishers support the outcome.'
More at www.australianmarinealliance.com.au
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8:40 PM Tue 18 Sep 2012GMT
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