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Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
17 March 2006
Developing the final boundaries and zoning for a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the south-east Marine Region is progressing well, the Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, said today.
The Minister received a range of formal and informal submissions on the proposed areas to be protected, which was released publicly for consultation in December 2005.
The views of the commercial fishing industry, the conservation sector, coastal communities, recreational fishermen and the oil and gas industries were represented in submissions from interest groups and individuals.
“I’m impressed by the way stakeholders have been working to advise the Government on options for a final network of Marine Protected Areas that protect biodiversity with the least possible impact on industry,” he said.
The fishing industry has developed its own recommendation for change.
Senator Campbell said there had also been a strong commitment to change and a positive contribution from Tasmanian Opposition leader Rene Hidding and from other Coalition Members and Senators in the south east region.
“A good example is the proposed reconfiguration of the Government's proposed Banks Strait MPA off the east coast of Tasmania into two MPAs that would eliminate the impact on the scallop industry and in the southern area offer the chance to connect with the iconic Wine Glass Bay on the Freycinet Peninsula,” Senator Campbell said.
“Our key industry stakeholders, including the fishing industry and the oil and gas industries, have been constructive participants in the consultation process to find ways of reducing industry impacts without taking away from conservation outcomes.
“I am confident the Government’s process of consultation and independent scientific advice will achieve our objective of sound conservation outcomes that minimise impacts on industry.
“To allow the process with stakeholders to reach a conclusion, I am extending the consultation timeframe by two weeks.”
Senator Campbell said the MPA network would be finalised in time to fit with the structural adjustment process for Commonwealth fisheries reforms in the region, which would begin with a licence buyout that covered the impacts of the south-east MPAs and fisheries reforms.
“By finalising the network by mid-April, those affected will have sufficient time to consider both the fisheries reforms and the marine protected areas in deciding whether they will participate in the licence buyout,” he said.
Following the release of the final proposed network, a formal public consultation will commence as the Government moves to declare the MPAs as Commonwealth reserves under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
For more information on the candidate network, including the ASIC map, or to download submissions, visit http://www.deh.gov.au/coasts/mpa/southeast/index.html
Renae Stoikos (Senator Campbell's office) 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434