Wednesday, 20 June 2012
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Ludwig.
Senator Ian Macdonald interjecting—
I did actually think Senator Macdonald was interested in fisheries, but obviously he is not.
Government senators interjecting—
Opposition senators interjecting—
My question is to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Ludwig. Given the government has announced a national system of marine reserves, can the minister outline to the Senate how the commercial fishing industry will be assisted and what the next steps are for the industry, now that the final plans have been released?
I thank Senator Crossin for her question. It does bring me to addressing the important question for the marine bioregional planning process. The government has now announced the location of the proposed protected ocean regions, which does provide certainty for industry. It means that the job for government is now to join with industry to build an assistance package that meets their needs. It also means that we will now join with industry to develop the management plan arrangements for these new regions. These new marine reserves will not come into effect until the management plans are in place and the assistance package is flowing to fishers. We have designed the reserves to avoid impacts on fishers and regional communities as much as possible.
The fact is that these reserves are estimated to displace around one per cent of the annual value of wild-catch fishery production in Australia. To help industry manage this, the government will deliver an assistance package in the vicinity of $100 million that will be worked through on a case-by-case basis, and this adjustment will flow before the reserves are activated. The government will build with industry a tailored package to meet the needs of industry. We are going to work with those who want and are able to change their business model. They will also have an opportunity of changing where they fish, how they fish and the type of fish they catch. They may also want to exit the industry. We will build individual packages suited to the needs of those businesses. We will provide direct business assistance to those that will find that most of value and the Gillard Labor government will work with those impacted workers as well.
For those getting help, there will be extra research so that they can continue to fish but in more innovative and productive ways, and they will benefit from that research. We will work through those options with industry. (Time expired)
I have a supplementary question and it goes to whether the minister can outline to the Senate what the impact of these new marine reserves will be for recreational fishing. Is the minister aware of any comments from recreational fishers on this new proposal?
I thank Senator Crossin for her question. The network of marine parks will have—unlike what the coalition have cried foul of—little to no impact on recreational fishers, while securing our ocean environments for the future. The bottom line is that, for 96 per cent of the ocean, 100 kilometres offshore, access for recreational fishing remains unchanged. What that means in practice is that, if a fisher could travel 100 kilometres offshore at Cape York, continue down the east coast past Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, around Tasmania and all the way to Kangaroo Island in South Australia, they would experience no change to recreational fishing access—no change. That is, from the Torres Strait straight to the Bass Strait, there is no change to the waters 100 kilometres offshore for recreational fishers. What is more, in two-thirds of the announced reserve areas there are restrictions for other sectors while recreational fishing is unimpeded. It is good news for— (Time expired)
Opposition senators interjecting—
I thank Senator Crossin for her second supplementary question. Senator Boswell and Senator Joyce are modern-day doomsday preachers, peddlers of misery. They love doom and gloom stories. They love telling the public that the world will end. Like the doomsayers, they will come unstuck on the facts. They will come unstuck because the facts speak for themselves. There is only a small amount of displaced GDP, and commercial fishers will be assisted to adjust. The reserves will not stop recreational fishers from dropping a line on the weekend, like I will be doing. The Liberals and Nationals appear to be happy only when they are saying the sky is falling in, when they are saying towns are be being wiped off the map and when they are saying Australians are up against the wall. No good news comes from those opposite. They only want to peddle misery. The Liberals and Nationals continue to carry on with gloom and doom. (Time expired)