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Monday, 26 November 2012
Page: 13236

Mr NEUMANN (Blair) (20:51): Australians know how fragile our marine life is and how important it is to protect it. We have completed a final network of Commonwealth marine reserves, and these will be managed to protect the unique biodiversity found in them, which is important for sustaining natural resources in the area. We think it is particularly important to do this. Those opposite in this chamber are simply opposing that which they previously had some commitment to when they created the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park back in 2006. Those opposite are no longer the party that was led by the member for Wentworth, that is for sure, and their opposition today goes to show just how narrow-minded they are.

The purpose of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Making Marine Parks Accountable) Bill is to stop, not simply delay, what we are doing. Those opposite are proposing in this legislation to create up to 88 regional committees for a period of two months to provide input into any future proposed marine reserves. This is economically stupid. They claim there are almost no financial implications for the Commonwealth. Those opposite simply do not get it with respect to protection of the environment. The member for Leichhardt talked about what the Cairns Regional Council did in commissioning a report from a local consultant which purported to show a $1 billion net economic impact on the Cairns regional economy, but flawed assumptions, deliberate misrepresentation and exaggeration of the federal Labor government's proposals underlayed that analysis. They ignore the fact that the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences were engaged to prepare an independent socioeconomic assessment for each of the proposed regional marine reserve networks. ABARES established reference groups with industry organisations, fisheries managers, fishing entitlement holders and fishing businesses, and those reports are publicly available on the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities website.

Mr Katter: Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I was a member of the government party when this was done, and I claim to have been misrepresented. He is saying that the Liberals are opposed to the national park proposals. The Liberals closed down the entire fishing industry in North Queensland.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Symon ): There is a time and a place for that. The member for Kennedy will resume his seat.

Mr NEUMANN: Those opposite are making all sorts of alarmist claims about financial Armageddon for the fishing industry, but that is at odds with what ABARES has had to say. The ABARES socioeconomic impact assessment predicts the value of the commercial fisheries catch displaced by the new marine reserves will be $11.1 million, which represents about one per cent of the annual value of catch, gross value of production, and about 103 jobs. That is what ABARES has had to say. They have run off with all sorts of scare campaigns. Senator Boswell has been talking about this, and we have had statements in the past by the member for Wentworth and the member for Curtin about it too. They will say one thing when they are in the capital cities of Australia about their commitments to marine parks but they will say another thing when they are up the coast of Queensland.

One thing that needs to be put on the table is how close the green zones and the new Commonwealth marine reserves are two towns along the Queensland coast. It is important to put this on the public record. Those opposite would have you believe that estuaries and lakes and beaches are all at risk, and that any person who gets in a tinny will be at risk when they leave Cairns and places like that. From Bundaberg, for example, the distance to the nearest marine park zone is 490 kilometres. From Brisbane it is 410 kilometres to the new Central Eastern Commonwealth Marine Reserve; Mooloolaba is 480 kilometres from that reserve—

Mr Katter: Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order. This is an outrageous misconception that the member for Blair is perpetrating on the House. The green zones stop almost all recreational fishing in Queensland.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Kennedy will resume his seat. The time allotted for this debate has expired; the debate is adjourned and the resumption of the debate will be made an order of the day for the next sitting.