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Monday, 20 August 2012
Page: 9112

Marine Sanctuaries


Mrs D'ATH (Petrie) (14:58): My question is to the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. Will the minister update the House on the government's plan to create national parks in Commonwealth waters, and what information is the community being given during the current consultation phase?


Mr BURKE (WatsonMinister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities) (14:59): I want to thank the member for Petrie for the question. The member for Petrie has been talking to me for some time about the importance of making sure that we got the balance right in the marine national parks proposals, to make sure that we took account of the recreational fishers—who are very strong in her electorate—without in any way compromising the strong environmental outcomes that we could achieve.

We ended up with a proposal, particularly down that east coast pathway, that met those requirements precisely. It is one where we were able to become as a nation the world leader in ocean protection.

It was a situation where, as a nation, whenever we were given a choice to deliver the same environmental outcome but to minimise the impact on recreational fishers, we took that option. Wherever we could get the same environmental outcome but minimise the impact on commercial fishers, we took that option. That is why the Coral Sea, for example, which I have previously described as the jewel in the crown of the whole proposal, is one area where the highest level of protection is in the areas furthest out. But in the areas that are closer—between the Great Barrier Reef and the beginning of where the Coral Sea is—you have one area of particularly high value for commercial fishers, which is reserved, and trawlers are allowed in. An area in the north of that entire central band is open to recreational fishing, and the southern part is also open to longliners to make sure that we deliver the environmental outcome in a way that minimises the challenges that might be otherwise there for the rec or commercial sectors.

That is why I was surprised to see that part of the material being distributed during the current consultation phase involved a leaflet—I am not sure what sort of image this was trying to invoke—with a symbol of fish and chips wrapped in the Australian flag with the entire Coral Sea reserve described not as it is in the draft maps but as a no-go zone. This leaflet can only be described as nothing other than a lie.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): The minister cannot use that word.

Mr BURKE: About a leaflet?

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The standing orders, for everybody's benefit, state that the only word that is truly unparliamentary is 'lied'. You can use another word but not that one. The minister must withdraw.

Mr BURKE: That is fine.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The minister must withdraw.

Mr BURKE: I withdraw.

Opposition members interjecting

Mr BURKE: I just did withdraw. The map that is on the leaflet is entirely incorrect. It is trying to do one thing—that is, mislead the people of Queensland—and nothing more. It is authorised by Queensland LNP Senator Sue Boyce. It was put out as fake information to deceive Queenslanders, and the Leader of the Opposition should himself disown it.