The Coalition has a strong track record in protecting Australia's marine environment, including the establishment of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and establishing a consultative process for marine planning. The network of marine parks announced by the Federal Government today ignores science, puts Australia's seafood security at risk, and will hurt coastal communities all around Australia. In response, Coalition Fisheries Spokesman Senator Richard Colbeck and Shadow Environment Minister Greg Hunt have announced a Coalition government would appoint a science-based panel to review all boundaries in all zones. "The marine parks network must be based on science and developed in consultation with the community," Coalition Fisheries Spokesman Senator Richard Colbeck said. "The network announced by Tony Burke today is not based on science, and we know that because Minister Burke's own department has been telling stakeholders there is no science behind the lines on the maps. "Minister Burke himself has admitted that the scale of lock-up in the Temperate East zone is a payoff for the vast lock up of the Coral Sea zone. "Australia's commercial fishing industry is greatly concerned by the size of these lock-ups and what it will mean for their businesses, and for the future of Australian-caught seafood. "Currently Australia imports about 70 per cent of its seafood and, by current consumption rates and nutritional recommendations, we face the reality of importing an additional 850,000 tonnes by 2020. "In a global sense, it is environmentally irresponsible of Australia to lock up our sustainably managed resources and then put pressure on the less sustainably managed resources of other regions. "The commercial fishing industry should treat with deep suspicion the Federal Government's offer of compensation. Hundreds of millions of dollars will be needed, but not one cent was allocated for compensation in this year's Federal Budget. "The Government has also failed to understand the importance of the recreational fishing industry to the economy in this process. The whims of green groups have been given preference over the recreational fishing community." Shadow Environment Minister Greg Hunt said the Federal Coalition has always supported a balanced approach to protecting Australia's marine environment. "We started the process of establishing the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and a network of Marine Protected Areas in 2006 by working with fishing and environmental groups. "Unfortunately, the consultation by Labor so far has been a farce. "The Coalition strongly believes it is important to look after Australia's marine environment as a whole, not just selectively pick and choose parts based on the demands of the most vocal stakeholders. "It is Tony Burke who has failed to protect the marine environment by turning a blind eye to the illegal slaughter of dugongs and turtles by poachers in Far North Queensland."
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Authorised by Sam McQuestin, Level 2/24 Murray Street, Hobart TAS 7000 | Updated 19 June 2013 | Admin