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Wednesday, 16 March 1977
Page: 300

Mr SAINSBURY (Eden) (Monaro) - I wish to speak briefly tonight on a matter which will become of increasing importance to the people of Australia, and possibly will happen within the next 12 months. It is mooted at the moment that Australia, along with a number of other countries in the Pacific region, may declare a 200-mile sea limit within the next 6 or 9 months. That will have tremendously important implications not only for all electorates on the seaboard of Australia but also for people who live in other parts of Australia, because it is not often realised by Australians that the 200-mile limit will mean a doubling of the size of the Australian territory which will have to be serviced and defended. It is a tremendously important task for the Government and for the people of Australia to marshal our resources and our thinking towards that day when we will have that extra territory to police. The defence implications, of course, are well known and have been well publicised. We in this country realise that, following the drastic rundown of our defence forces during the period of office of the Labor Government, the tremendous task of building those forces again to some viable size is going to be made all the more difficult as a result of the extra sea area that will need to be policed.

Without going into that matter any further, because obviously it will be the subject of debate in this Parliament at the appropriate time, I point out that there are other implications. The foreign policy implications will also be very important as time goes on. I would just like to say at this stage that any idea of resources diplomacy in the Whitlam sense will never be any good. The idea that we should trade our goods off against some other bit of foreign policy from overseas is, in the worst sense, anathema to me and, I believe, to most honourable members on this side of the House. I think it can be demonstrated, for instance, that if we were to withhold our fishing resources in the interests of some so-called Whitlam resources diplomacy policy we would find that we probably would not be able to sell them anyway. There have been indications that if we do not supply some of the other resources of this country the people who would normally want to buy them from us will go elsewhere. The examples of iron ore and some other commodities for which there are other sources of supply bear out that case. Apart from that, a more overriding implication in regard to resources diplomacy Whitlam style is that it is just downright immoral in the international sense.

The primary industry implications for my electorate of the increase in the fishing limit to 200 miles are of tremendous importance. They put a great obligation on the Government. A tremendous amount of money will have to be spent on research- not necessarily by the Government, but of course the Government will be required to co-ordinate that to some extent. The whole question of the financing of the larger vessels that will be necessary if we are to harvest our resources efficiently obviously will need great attention. Of course, the Australian fishing industry is already large. For instance, it is already Vh times the size of the apple industry, which we are debating in this Parliament this week. I do not have to tell the

Parliament that we export a tremendous quantity of fish, but we will have those extra resources and they will be very important to us. The whole question of Federal-State relations will be a problem. For instance, at the moment in New South Wales there are all sorts of State regulations and restrictions that will have to be washed away or at least modified if we are to get a viable system of fishing within the 200-mile limit. We will have great possibilities for joint venture operations in the servicing of ships, the processing of fish and the ownership of boats, in particular with Japan. The Government knows that there will be a need for extensive policies in this region. I certainly hope that the rest of Australia is becoming aware of the tremendous problems that we will have and the tremendous challenges that we will face.

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