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Labor has left no customs patrol vessels to stop illegal fishing in the Southern Ocean



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Michael Keenan MP - Federal Member for Stirling Labor has left no Customs patrol vessels to stop illegal fishing in the Southern Ocean February 12, 2013

Revelations today in Senate Estimates have revealed that for the first time in a decade there have been no patrol vessels in the Southern Ocean in the last 12 months, leaving our waters susceptible to illegal foreign fisheries, Shadow Minister for Justice, Customs and Border Protection Michael Keenan said.

“Despite the prevalent threat of illegal fishing, including the Japanese whaling patrols and the highest number of Sea Shepherd vessels in the Southern Ocean, Customs has had to remove their patrol vessels because of significant budgetary and staff cuts by Labor,” Mr Keenan said.

“Since coming to office, Labor has cut over $64 million in funding and 750 staff from Customs, including $17.3 million for the management of vessels of illegal foreign fishers.

“Instead we now have only one to three Australian Customs officers stationed on French Navy patrol vessels that are tasked with protecting our interests in the Southern Ocean - yet these officers have no ability to act on any illegal activity that occurs, they can only observe and record the evidence.

“The ACV Ocean Protector, which was previously responsible for patrolling the Southern Ocean, is instead intercepting illegal boat arrivals because of the Government’s failure to control Australia’s borders.

“Illegal foreign fishers are able to exploit the holes created in our border protection system courtesy of this Government’s inability to handle the constant influx of illegal boat arrivals.

“Labor has lost all credibility and authority when it comes to protecting Australia’s borders,” Mr Keenan said.

© Authorised by Michael Keenan MP, 203 Wanneroo Road, Tuart Hill WA 6060

www.keenan.net.au

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