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Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
25 October 2002
The Federal Minister for Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp MP, today promised to reintroduce a regulation to permit five local families to continue fishing in a very environmentally sustainable way in Princess Charlotte Bay.
Left Wing Labor Senator Jan McLucas this week joined forces with Democrat Senator Andrew Bartlett in Canberra to stop a small group of local businesses continuing to make a living from fishing in the isolated Bay, north of Cooktown.
Senator McLucas and Senator Bartlett had until December to move their motion.
They could have given the people of North Queensland until December - to allow the people affected to express their views on this issue.
Instead they rushed it through late on Wednesday - even voting to curtail the debate so that the views of all the groups opposed to their actions would not be heard.
Unfortunately there is nothing the government can do about this decision for six months.
Section 49 of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 prevents the Government from making the regulation again for six months after the date of disallowance.
Both Senators knew this when they moved their motion.
They knew they were voting to take away the rights of local fisherman to earn a livelihood in Princess Charlotte Bay for six months.
And they gave only one day's notice of their intention.
The Government's regulation is fair and equitable - to the local fishers, and to the environment.
I will reintroduce it in six months. But Senator McLucas and Senator Bartlett can move to disallow it again - again robbing local fishers of the ability to operate in Princess Charlotte Bay for another six months.
I urge the people of North Queensland to let the ALP know what they think of this decision, and urge them to let the regulation stand when the government reintroduces it in six months.
Catherine Job (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400