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Tuesday, 4 June 2013
Page: 5135

Mr HUNT (Flinders) (19:11): In addressing this disallowance motion for the Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network Management Plans, let me begin with a simple proposition: we support marine parks where they are based on appropriate science, appropriate consultation and the outcome is a balanced outcome. What we do not support is a lockout of mums and dads and people who will go fishing recreationally, the ability of families to access their local areas. That is the problem with what has occurred here.

Let me be absolutely clear. It was the Howard government that started this process, from a balanced perspective. It was the Howard government that created the south-eastern marine approach, and we are very proud of what we created—and I am going to deal with one of the falsities that the minister put to the House today, and which he knows is false. But, against that background, our approach has been balance: what is it that we need to protect; what is it that will allow families, recreational fishers and others to be able to participate in the great Australian pastime of casting a line for a bite? That is not a great threat to Australia's marine environment; that is not a great threat to our fish resources, our marine stocks, to our ability to protect and manage our environment because these families, these recreational fishers, are actually conservationists. These are people who care about the marine environment. They are not the folks who should be demonised, as has been the case from the ALP right throughout this process. So we stand up for recreational fishers, we stand up for people who care about the marine environment and we stand up for conservation. There will be a marine parks process that will continue under us if we are successful and if this motion is successful, but it will be based on common sense, fairness, science and consultation. They are the practical things.

Mr Deputy Speaker Cheeseman, representing as you do the seat of Corangamite—I just wanted to put that on the record—I want to deal with four items that came about today from the government's statements and the minister's statements. Firstly, this notion that we would be voting against the Howard government's plan: false, untrue, incorrect, inaccurate and the minister knows it. He has been caught out on that one. We put in place a regional plan, and with that we also put in place a management plan. What is being voted on here is a variation to that, and the default position is that which was the case will be the case if we are successful.

This, I am sorry to say, Mr Deputy Speaker Cheeseman, brings me to your own work. I have in front of me today a statement which has been sent out: 'Our marine parks in danger.' It makes the point that, 'Just last year Labor declared the biggest network of marine parks in the world.' It is a big area—it is a massive area—and people will be locked out of that area. So that is right. Then there is the false statement: 'It will be legal to drill for oil and gas off Apollo Bay. It will be legal to use long lines, gillnets and spears in these areas.' That is untrue. That which was the case will continue to be the case. The default position will continue, and that is the Howard government plan. It was a good plan. I helped negotiate it myself. I spoke with the fishing community. I worked with the fishing community and we actually reached an agreement with the fishing community, as opposed to what has occurred in this place on this occasion.

So I am sorry, Mr Deputy Speaker, to say that what was sent out in your name today—I can only assume it was done without your consent!—was untrue. I am sorry, Minister, to say that what you said before this chamber today was untrue. There will be no lack of protection. The default position remains the case. You know it; we know it. It is what it is, but in the grand scheme of things it was, of course, a small deception.

On the same front, a simple statement—not that the world will collapse, but there had been no media coverage. I want to present the front page and page 4 of the Surf Coast Times from today, showing our candidate for Corangamite, Sarah Henderson, with Rex Hunt. The article on page 4 is headed, 'Fishers fight against marine parks'.

Mr Burke: Read the final paragraph of the article.

Mr HUNT: Yes, absolutely, the minister is quoted. I noted in question time today he talked about going out of where we were today and turning left. Well, actually, if he went out and turned left, he would have ended up in the Barwon River. It doesn't matter—another minor deception. Let me table—I am sure the minister will allow it and I am sure Deputy Speaker Cheeseman will be delighted for me to do so—the front page of today's Surf Coast Times, which shows the rally, and on page 4, 'Fishers fight against marine parks,' Tuesday, 4 June, 2013: Rex Hunt and Sarah Henderson, candidate. I seek leave to table them.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Cheeseman ): Is leave granted?

Mr Burke: Is that the same document that says that the nearest shut-out zone is 460 kilometres away?

Mr HUNT: The minister's comments are in there.

Mr Burke: It is the one that says 460 kilometres away?

Mr HUNT: The minister's comments are in there.

Mr Burke: Then you are welcome to table it.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Leave granted.

Mr HUNT: Let me come to the last thing and the most important here, and that is the work which has been done on precisely this issue of the proximity of these marine parks to local communities. Let me run through some names. Mindarieand Two Rocks are within seven kilometres offshore. Busselton and Geographe Bay are nine kilometres. You travel around and you have other names: Fremantle, Karratha, Kalbarri; in Queensland, Karumba, Cooktown and Mackay; in South Australia, Ceduna and Streaky Bay; in the Northern Territory, Nhulunbuy; in Tasmania, Bicheno and St Helens; in New South Wales, Port Macquarie, Yamba and Byron Bay. These are all within 12 kilometres. These are all, according to the Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation, places where up to tens of thousands of people would otherwise have visited for recreational fishing purposes each and every year.

Let me just read the number of groups that are involved here. We have AFTA, ANSA, the Australian Underwater Federation, the Game Fishing Association Australia, Keep Australia Fishing, the PFIGA, Recfish Australia, the Recreational Fishing Alliance of New South Wales, Recfishwest, Sunfish Queensland and TARFish from Tasmania. We have USFA and VRFish. That is a summary of the groups which are involved. That is a summary of the places which have been affected.

So, very simply, this has a real impact on recreational fishing. This has a real impact on fisherfolk, on families, on the ability of people to do what they have normally done. Tens of thousands of people in each of these places, according to the advice of the Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation, will have their ability to carry on one of life's simple pleasures impaired. That is why these boundaries on this day in this form should be rejected. We will continue with the process. We will make sure that there is real protection, but not in this way and not in this form.