Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Question without notice - Parliament House

18 June 2012

WARREN ENTSCH (Member for Leichhardt): Thank you Madam Deputy Speaker and my question is to the Minister for the Environment and I remind the Minister that in 2004 the compensation for fishermen and marine industries to rezone the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park was originally capped at $10 million but subsequently blew out to close to $250 million. How has the Minister arrived at a figure of $100 million as a cost of compensation to rezone an area ten times that size?

BURKE: Thanks very much Madam Deputy Speaker and I thank the Member for Leichhardt for opening up the cost blowout that was administered by the other side.

The bioregional planning that’s taking place under national environmental law. The legislation was introduced by a bloke you may have heard of by the name of Robert Hill. Across our oceans there is one region that was done by the previous Government, one region only. And that was the south east.

When the south east was done that provided the template for displacement policy and that’s exactly the template that the Government is providing and is following through on. Where was the Member for Leichardt saying it was an outrageous package when it was being implemented by the Howard Government. Where was the member for Leichhardt...

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Madam Deputy Speaker, the Minister was asked how he arrived at a figure of $100 million for an area 10 times the size of the Great Barrier Reef. That is the question he needs to answer.

BURKE: Not only were the principles that were arrived at by the previous Government in terms of displacement policy - the principles that we are now following through on.

The science which was delivered by the previous Government has formed some of the scientific foundation for the principles that we have followed. The south west would be the biggest one. And on the south west, the document there, the bioregional profile for the science - you will see a photograph of a bloke you might recognise. He used to be the Minister for the Environment. The Member for Wentworth authored the document. Authored the document that provided the scientific foundation for the south west.

The previous Government authored the policies that have dictated how we will run the displacement policies throughout this process. What we have is a situation where the Opposition has decided that environmental protection is something that they need to say no to at every single location.

You won’t find the Member for Leichardt, Madam Deputy Speaker talking about the impact on his electorate for the dive industry. The dive industry which is a cornerstone of the tourism industry in Cairns have been out there backing this because they know that Osprey Reef in particular, one of the top five dive spots in the world, is now on the global map in a much stronger way because it’s been giving the level of marine protection that it always should have had. But no no no. No mention by the Member for Leichardt of the benefits of some of the tourism sectors in his own electorate because when the option to say no is there, its irresistible for them.