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Thursday, 29 October 2009
Page: 7727

Senator Boswell asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, upon notice, on 8 September 2009:

With reference to the proposed East Marine Bioregional Plan:

(1)   Is a full economic and social impact assessment being undertaken as part of the planning process; if so: (a) how and by whom is this assessment being conducted; (b) which stakeholders will be consulted; and (c) will the completed assessment be made available to stakeholders.

(2)   Does the Government have a displaced fishing effort policy that includes provisions for compensation for the commercial fishing industry; if so: (a) will all small businesses, including land-based businesses, affected by the introduction of a further extensive network of marine protected areas around Australia, be provided for in this policy; if so, how will compensation be provided; and (b) will the displaced fishing effort policy be removed before closures are made.

(3)   Have the concerns of stakeholders in relation to the time frames for completion of the planning been considered; if so, what measures will the Government introduce to accommodate these concerns.

Senator Wong (Minister for Climate Change and Water) —The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:

(1)   Yes.

(a)   The assessment of the impacts on fisheries will be undertaken by the Bureau of Rural Sciences.

(b)   A period of no less than 60 days statutory consultation will follow the release of the draft East Marine Bioregional Plan. All stakeholders will have an opportunity to comment during this period.

(c)   Yes.

(2)   Policy guidance on assistance to activities impacted by the declaration of marine protected areas is currently under development. A Stakeholder Advisory Group has been formed to provide input into the policy development process. Members of this Group are drawn from a wide range of marine sectors. It is anticipated that this process will be finalised prior to the release of the draft South-west Marine Bioregional Plan.

(a)   and (b) The Stakeholder Advisory Group is providing input into developing the new policy. As yet no conclusions have been reached regarding the extent, type and timing of assistance to be provided.

(3)   The concerns of some stakeholders in relation to timelines for the completion of the East Marine Bioregional Plan are being considered.