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Monday, 17 September 2012
Page: 7012


Senator JACINTA COLLINS (VictoriaManager of Government Business in the Senate and Parliamentary Secretary for School Education and Workplace Relations) (13:11): No, Senator Bernardi, I have not gagged any debate on this occasion. I am seeking to make some comments in closing.

Senator Abetz: After 125 I suppose you need some respite.

Senator JACINTA COLLINS: I have not been counting. Far from this being a motion of no confidence—and I remind Senator Abetz, as I interjected at the time—the statement of reasons for urgency was tabled when I gave notice of this motion last Thursday. I notice very little reference was made to the points made in that statement, so let me reiterate some of them.

There is significant community concern about the impact on Commonwealth fisheries of new fishing activities that are of a size and scale greater than have previously occurred in Australian waters. Further, there is not currently a general power available under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to suspend such new, large-scale operations from fishing pending—and I stress 'pending'—further scientific assessment by an expert panel.

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 this bill will grant the minister power to suspend declared commercial fishing activities while an independent assessment is undertaken of the potential impacts of the new activity by an expert panel.

The PRESIDENT: The question is that the motion moved by Senator Collins be agreed to.