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Thursday, 28 August 2008
Page: 4044

Senator BOSWELL (1:57 PM) —The time is short—in fact, there are probably only two minutes—but I will endeavour to fill in that time. It is very good to follow Senator Macdonald and Senator Joyce. They both analysed this legislation very well and indicated primarily that this is a path we should not be going down. Some time ago the coalition decided that they would do a review of this legislation, and that was done on 14 December 2006. Prior to that, this legislation was introduced after GBRMPA came around and saw members of parliament. It said to them: ‘We only want 25 per cent of the reef. Yes, we’ll put in these biodiversity zones and zones that people aren’t to fish in. Don’t worry about it, Senator Boswell. We’ll look after you. We’ll go and talk to all the fishing people. We’ll find the particular areas where they fish and we’ll let fishing continue.’ So everyone was lulled into a false sense of security.

I took GBRMPA at its word, which is the worst thing I ever did. That was the biggest mistake I have made in this parliament. When the maps came out, we found some terrible failures of GBRMPA to honour their commitments to the fishing industry and the amateur fishermen. They took 33 or 35 per cent of the reef. We were then forced to go and reduce the fishing effort, because you cannot lose a 35 per cent area and still have the same effort.

Debate interrupted.