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Monday, 26 November 2012
Page: 13279

Mrs D'ATH (Petrie) (11:20): I rise to speak in support of the motion from the member for Capricornia and thank the member for bringing this very important motion forward so that people can hear the truth. I thank the member for Herbert for putting some truth in this debate. Finally we have a member of the opposition telling the truth about the marine parks and how far away the Coral Sea is from Townsville. I think the member for Herbert's words were that recreational fishers will not be affected because the Coral Sea is over 300 kilometres away from Townsville. Thank you for actually saying that. It was a long time coming. I will get to how far it is from Redcliffe Peninsula shortly.

I want to acknowledge the damage being done to Queensland's recreational fishing industry by the LNP and to voice my support for recreational fishers, particularly in and around my electorate of Petrie, which is bound by beautiful Moreton Bay. Just to recap, since his election Campbell Newman and the LNP government have cut $8 million from the fisheries budget, 60 jobs from fisheries Queensland, front-line fisheries researchers and funding for the National Fisheries Research and Development Corporation. But that was not enough. The LNP have also scrapped the funding for Sunfish Queensland, discontinued the Fishcare volunteer program, slashed the fisheries observer program, scaled back the freshwater fishing program, restructured the Queensland boating and fisheries patrol and rationalised Brisbane based senior management support services. And it is not just recreational fishers that Campbell Newman has in his sights. The LNP have also ceased the industry development program for commercial and recreational fishing and cut $125,000 from the Queensland Seafood Industry Association.

I know that locals in my community love to throw a line out in Moreton Bay and I do too. I know that Sunfish have always stood up for the right to do just that and I thank them for the advocacy over the years. There are four LNP state members across my electorate and not one of them has stood up to Campbell Newman on this issue. These cuts come despite pre-election promises by the Premier that the Public Service has nothing to fear and that the government would work with recreational fishers to enhance their experiences. Instead we find that by 'enhance' the LNP really meant 'cut' and when the LNP said they would not cut front-line services like fisheries officers they really meant that they would redefine the positions first. I thank Minister Ludwig, federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, for his representations to the LNP on behalf of recreational fishers and I look forward to hearing an explanation for this latest round of cuts, which are further damaging local communities like mine.

But it is not just LNP state members who owe local fishers an apology. Fishers across Moreton Bay and Brisbane's northside also deserve an apology and an explanation from the federal opposition over their recent scare campaign around the Coral Sea marine reserves. We heard from the member for Herbert about the rallies and protests against the impact on the marine park. The federal Liberal Party were so desperate to con locals in my area on this issue that they even distributed incorrect maps throughout my community, until we caught them out. On 14 November I was thrilled to hosts the Petrie community cabinet at Hercules Road State School on the Redcliffe Peninsula, where the Prime Minister, environment minister and fisheries minister took questions from residents on this issue. One woman, Wendy, asked if the Liberals were right when they said that locals would only be able to fish in their bathtubs from now on. The answer was a resounding no, and I thank the minister for the environment for setting the record straight on that occasion. The fact is that local fishers would have to travel over 400 kilometres from the Redcliffe Peninsula to visit our marine reserves. There are not a lot of tinnies equipped for that journey. In fact, the local candidates and Senator Boyce were all out there in Lilley, across the bridge from Redcliffe Peninsula. They have photos on their websites of a tinny with the bay right in the background. It must be a really good camera to be out further than 400 kilometres and make a tinny look like it is sitting near the beach with a line thrown in.

I make no apologies for protecting our environment for future generations. I congratulate the environment minister on the recent declaration and I thank the many residents in my electorate who have written to me in support of our action on this issue. The Gillard government is a strong supporter of Australian recreational fishing. That is why we developed and held roundtables chaired by the fisheries minister to hear directly from the industries. We have to have a balanced approach on this issue. I do not believe it is balanced when we hear from the member for Herbert that it is okay for the state government to take funding away from organisations if they are member based organisations. Go and tell all of my community organisations that are member based organisations: 'You should welcome these cuts. You can go out and get more members. It's a great way to build your organisation.' Organisations across the board are suffering in my community, including in fisheries and recreational fisheries; Sunfish is one of those. We stand by the great work they have done. We stand by our recreational fishers.