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

20 August 2012

YVETTE D'ATH (MEMBER FOR PETRIE): My question is to the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. Will the Minister update the House on the Government's plans to create Marine Parks in Commonwealth waters? And what information is the community being given during the current consultation phase?

TONY BURKE: Thanks very much Deputy Speaker and I thank the member for Petrie for the question.

The member for Petrie has been talking to me for some time about the importance of making sure that we got the balance right in the marine national parks proposals to make sure that we took account of the recreational fishers who were very strong in her electorate without in any way compromising the strong environmental outcomes that we could achieve.

What we ended up with was a proposal, particularly down that east coast pathway Deputy Speaker, was one that met those requirements precisely. One where we were able to become, as a nation, the world leader in ocean protection.

A situation where we were as a nation, whenever we were given a choice to deliver the same environmental outcome but minimise the impact on recreational fishers we took that option. Wherever we could get the same environmental outcome and minimise the impact on commercial fishers, we took that option.

That's why the Coral Sea, for example, which I have previously described as the jewel in the crown of the whole proposal is one where the highest level of protection is in the areas furthest out.

But in the areas that are closer between the Great Barrier Reef and where the beginning of the Coral Sea is, you have one area of particularly high value for commercial fishers which is reserved where trawling is allowed.

You have an area in the north of that Coral Sea area, that entire central band, that is open to recreational fishing and in the southern part of is also open to long-liners to make sure that we got that balance in being able to deliver the environmental outcome but in a way that would minimise the challenges that might be otherwise there for rec and commercial sectors.

That's why I was surprised to see that part of the material being distributed during the current consultation phase. Deputy Speaker it involves a leaflet, I'm not sure what kind of image that is trying to invoke, but a symbol of fish and chips wrapped in the Australian flag and then the Coral Sea reserve not described as it is in the draft maps but the entire thing, Deputy Speaker, described as a no-go zone. The entire Coral Sea.

This leaflet can only be described; it's nothing other... the leaflet is a lie.

DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Minister can't use that word.

TONY BURKE: About a leaflet?

DEPUTY SPEAKER: About a leaflet. You can't use. The standing orders for everybody's benefit, for everybody's benefit, The Standing Orders, the only word that is truly unparliamentarily is lie. You can use another world but not that one. The Minister must withdraw.

TONY BURKE: I withdraw Deputy Speaker. The map that is there is entirely incorrect, it is trying to do one thing and that is mislead the people of Queensland and nothing more.

It is authorised by Queensland LNP Senator Sue Boyce. It is put out as fake information to deceive Queenslanders which the Leader of the Opposition should himself disown.