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The Hon Peter Garrett MP
Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts
Coalition needs to reel in the facts on marine planning
15 July 2010
Federal Environment Protection Minister Peter Garrett today responded to the widespread
campaign of misinformation from the Liberal and National parties on the Government’s marine
bioregional planning process.
The facts are these:
- FACT ONE: The areas being assessed are part of a comprehensive program of work
taking place in Commonwealth waters - which start around 5.5kms from the shore - right
around the country, to assess the unique economic and environmental values of the
Australian east coast marine environment. It was a process initiated by the Howard
- FACT TWO: In designing marine reserves the Government is aiming to strike a balance
between multiple use and highly protected areas. We want to work with stakeholders to
secure a good conservation outcome while minimising social and economic impacts.
- FACT THREE: Consultation on ‘Areas for Further Assessment’ in the East Marine Region
is now underway. These areas for further assessment are simply areas where more
detailed information will be collected. Importantly, they are not proposed no-take zones - no
proposed 'no-take' zones have been identified anywhere.
- FACT FOUR: The priority for the Government is to avoid or minimise impacts on existing
users. However the Government is prudently also developing a displaced efforts policy that
will guide the approach to any operations impacted after exhaustive consultations are
concluded. A consultant's report has been received from MAXimus Solutions which
contributes to this discussion, but it does not represent Government policy.
- FACT FIVE: A Stakeholder Advisory Group has been established to provide input from
sectors that have an interest in the development of the policy, and staff from my department
are travelling up and down the east coast now to meet with key groups and individuals.
- FACT SIX: The process has been extended to allow further and more
thorough consultation, with industry, fishers and other users.
- FACT SEVEN: The release of each draft plan will be followed by a 90-day public
consultation period where everybody – commercial, charter and recreational fishers, the
tourism industry, the marine industries and other sectors, environment groups and the
public – will have the chance to influence the final outcome.
Instead of running ill-informed scare campaigns the Liberal and National parties should deal in the