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Minister for the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts 2001-2004

The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP



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Joint Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
Australian Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation
Senator Ian Macdonald

30 June 2004

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park structural adjustment package

Details of the structural adjustment package to assist fishers and related businesses that experience significant negative impacts as a result of rezoning in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP) were announced today by the Australian Government.

Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, and Australian Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation, Senator Ian Macdonald, said the package would ensure fair and equitable treatment of those affected by the GBRMP rezoning.

Dr Kemp said the new zoning plan, which would come into effect on 1 July 2004, increased the area of the marine park protected by "no take" zones from about 4.5% to 33.3%.

"This is a great outcome for marine environment protection, but we also recognize that there are fishers, related businesses and communities that will be impacted by these area closures and who should be assisted," he said.

He reinforced the Government's commitment to the fishing industry that those who were adversely affected by the changes would be treated fairly, equitably and adequately.

"We have indicated that all legitimate demand for the package will be met."

The key elements of the package are:

Dr Kemp said the Government was in discussions with the Queensland Rural Adjustment Authority (QRAA) about administering the fishing licence buy out and business planning and business restructuring assistance.

A technical advisory committee made up of government and industry representatives will be established to provide advice on issues that arise during administration of the package.

The package will be available as soon as possible after 1 July and the eligibility criteria are expected to be released by the end of June, with information packs distributed and information sessions held as soon as practicable afterwards.

Senator Macdonald added that the GBRMP Authority had consulted widely in the development of the new zoning plan and every effort had been made to minimize the impact on fishers.

"However, it was never going to be possible to reduce the impact completely and we expect there will be some areas particularly significantly affected and some fisheries, such as the inshore net fishery, where the impact will be more pronounced."

He said the GBRMP package was the first application of the policy statement on Marine Protected Areas and Displaced Fishing released by the Government in January.

"The policy clearly spells out the Government's readiness to provide adjustment assistance to people in the fishing and fishing-dependent industries who experience significant negative impacts as a result of decisions made to protect the environment," Senator Macdonald said.

Dr Kemp said the policy also made it clear that impacts resulting from the rezoning should be identified separately from restrictions placed on fishing under normal management actions taken by Queensland fisheries authorities in order to achieve sustainability objectives.

Further details about the structural adjustment package are attached.

Elements of Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Structural Adjustment Package

Business Planning Assistance

Business Exit Assistance

Business Restructuring Assistance

Employee Assistance

Social Impact Assistance

Community Impact Assistance

Commonwealth of Australia