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Thursday, 11 October 2012
Page: 7966

Senator THORP (Tasmania) (11:48): I rise to speak against this Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Making Marine Parks Accountable) Bill 2012. In this country we have a huge network of national parks that protect our most pristine natural landscapes for generations to come. Our oceans contain fragile marine life and that deserves protection too. The government is working hard to protect and sustainably manage our marine environment.

The year 2012 will go down as a landmark year for marine conservation in Australia. This year the government is finalising the largest ever addition to our national network of marine reserves, the largest marine reserve network in the world. The government's decision is the outcome of a transparent, science driven process undertaken over several years. We have engaged in meaningful consultation with stakeholders and conducted a comprehensive socioeconomic impact evaluation of the marine reserves proposal. This bill is an attempt by those opposite to grandstand and criticise improved marine planning.

Stakeholder views were considered and comprehensively addressed in the Senate inquiry held last year into the bill. The statements made in the recent media by those opposite about marine reserves and planning are incorrect and grossly exaggerate the actual impacts on commercial and recreational fishers. The claim that the government is locking out commercial and recreational fishers is false. As I have said, the government's decision is the outcome of a transparent process in which science, socioeconomic analysis and stakeholder and public consultation all play key roles in achieving a balanced outcome. Analysis undertaken by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences estimates that around one per cent of the national annual value of wild catch fisheries production in Australia will be displaced by the proposed reserves.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Order! The time allotted for this debate has expired.

Debate interrupted.