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Thursday, 21 June 2012
Page: 7497

Marine Sanctuaries

Mr KATTER (Kennedy) (14:31): I have a question without notice for environment minister Burke. Is the minister aware that the LNP government reduced Australia's north-east ocean access to 18 per cent, closing down almost all fishing in Queensland, and is he aware of the extraordinary hypocrisy of the opposition deputy leader when his new state government has already announced a buy-out of most of what is left? Could the minister advise the House how his proposed Coral Sea closure can be explained to the world when our nearest neighbour has nearly 80 million people going to bed hungry whilst this proposal will reduce Australia, the world's biggest fishing area, to the world's smallest harvest—less than two per cent of the world average—shortening the three years before which Australia will become a net food importer: taking and not giving food to a hungry world. (Time expired)

Mr BURKE (WatsonMinister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities) (14:31): I want to thank the member for Kennedy for the question. At least the member for Kennedy has been consistent in his view on marine parks. The member for Kennedy has not engaged in the rubbish that we have heard from others opposite that somehow marine parks are good if they are done by a Liberal-National Party government but the end of the world if done by a Labor government, and that somehow you could have a rezoning inshore, within the Great Barrier Reef, and that is fine for recreational fishers but if you put boundaries where they cannot go, 400 kilometres away, then that is the end of recreational fishing. The member for Kennedy has been completely consistent the whole way through. He has not had a view of support for marine parks. He has opposed them when they have been done by this side of the House and he has opposed them when they have been done by members opposite. There is not a hint of hypocrisy in anything that we hear from the member for Kennedy.

He will respect that we have a different policy view to him on this. And we are proud of our marine parks role. We are proud that we have engaged in this sort of environmental protection. We do not engage in the duplicity of those opposite. But the member for Kennedy also raises the issues of, and specifically refers to, our nearest neighbour and the population there. It is the nation of Indonesia that he is referring to.

I have to say that, when it comes to marine protection, Indonesia is really a case in point. It was President Yudhoyono who led the Coral Triangle Initiative. It was President Yudhoyono who led much of the work within the developing world, acknowledging that if we are going to use our fisheries they have to be used in a sustainable way. Indonesia, in the work on the Coral Triangle Initiative, and the partners that are part of that initiative—the Philippines, Malaysia, Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea and the Solomons—which Australia supports, are engaging in exactly the sort of environmental work which we would hope that they would engage in. It is exactly the sort of environmental work that acknowledges that if you trash a resource you will lose a resource.

That is what Indonesia is absolutely leading out there. So in terms of the food security issues which the member for Kennedy points to, Indonesia is a case in point in understanding the importance of sustainability. I would remind all members of what we were talking about in last week's proposal. The impact on the gross value of production is in the order of one to two per cent. I also remind all members opposite that, when it comes to consistency on environmental protection, the member for Kennedy is upfront. He is just opposed to the creation of marine parks. He does not engage in the extraordinary levels of duplicity we have seen from those opposite.