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Tuesday, 19 June 2012
Page: 6988

National Security


Mrs GRIGGS (Solomon) (14:42): My question is to the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. I remind the minister that commercial, recreational and tourist charter fishing boats have provided much-needed intelligence to Northern Command about illegal boat arrivals in the north and north-west of Australia. With the government planning to lock commercial, recreational and charter boats out of much of this area, is the government intending to increase the surveillance capacity of Northern Command to replace this much-needed volunteer service?


Mr BURKE (WatsonMinister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities) (14:43): First of all, to deal with one premise in the preamble where it was allegedly a major issue for rec fishers in Darwin, if you get in a tinny from Darwin, you travel 680 kilometres before you get to the nearest place where you cannot drop a line.

Mr Pyne: I rise on a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. The minister is not allowed to recast the question to the question he wanted to be asked. The question was about surveillance provided by charter boat operators and commercial fishers—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat! The Leader of the House on a point of order?

Mr Albanese: On the point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker, because the Manager of Opposition Business cannot write a question does not mean that the answer—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The Leader of the House will resume his seat! Frivolous points of order from both sides of the chamber do not assist question time. The minister has the call. He is just beginning to answer the question and he will be heard in silence.

Mr BURKE: If you get in the average tinny and you reach that area 680 kilometres away, you probably do not have enough petrol to get back. As with all national parks, there is a management obligation that comes with the establishment of national parks, and just as there are a number of national parks on land managed nationally by the director of national parks, so too does the director of national parks, when these are finally proclaimed, take on the obligation to see that they are properly managed. In some cases this will be done jointly with state governments. In some cases this will be done through relationships with the commercial charter recreational sector. In some cases, for example, where you have got the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority on the exact same boundary as the Coral Sea, there are a range of options as to how the surveillance is actually done. But of course when you establish a national park at sea, just like when you do on land, you take on obligations for management—of course you do. That is where you have opportunities in these areas to be able to use a range of different initiatives, which is the same thing that happens whenever marine parks are established in state waters.