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Joint Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
Leader of The Nationals in the Senate
Senator for Queensland
Senator the Hon Ron Boswell
Member for Leichhardt
The Hon Warren Entsch
14 December 2006
New amendments to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations, which came into effect today, will give Marine Park enforcement officers the ability to issue on-the-spot fines to recreational fishers found illegally fishing in green zones.
The Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, Senator Ron Boswell and Federal Member for Leichhardt, Warren Entch, announced the new arrangements today.
“Senator Boswell and Warren Entsch have played important roles in a delegation of Queensland Coalition parliamentarians that asked me to review the penalty system to ensure it was in line with community expectations," Senator Campbell said.
“Breaches of our environmental management regimes are a serious concern, however, I recognise it is important to structure the penalties associated with these breaches to ensure the system is efficient and fair.”
Senator Boswell said the new infringements notice offences would attract a fine of $1100 and be a significant change to the way minor recreational fishing offences are handled.
“Less serious cases will continue to be dealt with by an advisory letter rather than a fine,” Senator Boswell said.
Previous arrangements meant recreational fishers found illegally fishing in a green zone were dealt with by the court system.
Mr Entsch said tying up the court system with simple recreational fishing offences was not an efficient use of resources for either the courts or Marine Park officers.
“My concern was anyone convicted of a breach, irrespective of the seriousness of the infringement, incurred a criminal record and the potential serious ramifications which in my view was totally unacceptable,” Mr Entsch said.
“This new system of infringement notices will give enforcement officers the option to deal with matters relating to recreational fishing in green zones quickly and effectively.
“On any given weekend, thousands of recreational fishers are out in the Marine Park. Occasionally some of these people do the wrong thing and it is important to have a system in place to deal with these occurrences in an appropriate and sensible way.”
The area covered by Green Zones within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park was significantly increased in 2004 with the introduction of the GBRMPA’s Representative Areas Programme.
Rhiannon Keen (Senator Campbell's office) 0438 316 505
Paul Leven (Senator Boswell's office) 0428 714 779
Charlie McKillop (Warren Entsch's office) 0427 737 203