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Thursday, 13 September 2012
Page: 6852


Senator JACINTA COLLINS (VictoriaManager of Government Business in the Senate and Parliamentary Secretary for School Education and Workplace Relations) (11:52): I give notice that, on the next day of sitting, I shall move:

That the provisions of paragraphs (5) to (8) of standing order 111 not apply to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Declared Fishing Activities) Bill 2012, allowing it to be considered during this period of sittings.

I also table a statement of reasons justifying the need for this bill to be considered during these sittings and seek leave to have the statement incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The statement read as follows—

Purpose of the Bill

To amend the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) to allow the responsible Minister to prohibit a new fishing activity while an expert scientific committee undertakes a full scientific assessment of the potential impacts of the fishing activity on:

protected species and the Commonwealth marine environment; and

any other matters that the Minister considers relevant to ensure community confidence in the sustainability of the new fishing activity.

Reasons for Urgency

There is significant community concern about the impact in Commonwealth fisheries of new fishing activities that are of a size and scale greater than has previously occurred in Australian waters. Further, there is not currently a general power available under the EPBC Act to suspend such new large-scale operations from fishing pending further scientific assessment by an expert committee.

An example of such a new large-scale fishing operation is the FV Abel Tasman which is about to commence fishing in the Small Pelagic Fishery.

Urgent passage of the bill will grant the Minister power to suspend new fishing activities (where the nature of the activity is new and its potential impact warrants a precautionary approach) while an independent assessment is undertaken of the potential impacts of the new activity by an expert committee.