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Tuesday, 26 November 1985
Page: 2269

Senator BOSWELL(5.44) —I want to use the debate on Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 1985-86 as a means of expressing in the Senate the confusion and disillusionment felt by the fishing industry of Queensland in regard to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park zoning plan. The fishermen and fishing industry of Queensland have played the game. They have acted in a spirit of consultation and co-operation with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. They have lost fishing grounds that would have returned to the Queensland fishing industry over $1m a year. The Bird Islands and Blackwood Channel areas have been traditional fishing and trawling grounds for the prawning industry. When the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority consulted the fishing industry about its proposal to declare as national park a section from the Barrier Reef to the coast, the fishing industry agreed but asked the Authority to change the boundaries of that segment from false Orford Ness to Orford Ness, a distance, I would say, of 200 kilometres.

The fact is that through a misunderstanding-or whatever happened-$1m worth of good prawn trawling grounds have been lost to the fishing industry. It is no good crying over spilt milk; it has happened. However, I am asking the Minister and her advisers whether the plan can be reviewed and whether any possible amendments can be made to restore the fishing grounds to the prawn trawling industry. The Great Barrier Reef Consultative Committee, which includes a representative of the fishing industry, tells me that it was not informed as to the removal of the grounds and that it was disappointed by it. It requests that these grounds be returned to the fishing industry as soon as possible.