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You now have to ask what role fisheries has to play


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3rd April 2007


NPA commends the NSW Government on changes it announced to the management of marine parks, vegetation and water in NSW this week. We welcome the transfer of responsibility for these areas to the new Minister for Climate Change, Environment and Water.

The changes announced yesterday abolish the Department of Natural Resources and move most of this department, along with Marine Parks and aquatic threatened species, to the new Department of Environment and Climate Change (formerly Dept. of Environment and Conservation) or the new Department of Water and Energy under the same Minister.

“Putting marine parks and aquatic threatened species solely under the environment portfolio will ensure good science. It means the ecological needs of the 16 listed aquatic threatened species and marine parks will no longer be subjugated by fishing interests and departmental obstructions”, said Andrew Cox, executive officer of National Parks Association of NSW.

“Department of Primary Industries stymied advances in marine conservation at almost every turn.

“Likewise, Department of Natural Resources had been beset by cultural and performance problems since its inception, and its credibility with NSW native vegetation reforms was undermined by its poor performance on compliance, monitoring and private native forestry,” Mr Cox said.

“DNR was heavily captured by the resource exploitation industries, including big agri-business, which compromised its implementation of Government policies on water and vegetation.

“The arrangements align both marine and water management with Federal arrangements. As with the Commonwealth managed Great Barrier Reef, we expect NSW Marine Parks to rise in their recognition, standard of management and status.

“However, while we are cautiously optimistic, there is still a lot of work to do to make sure the departmental changes deliver real improvements for management of marine parks, water and vegetation in NSW.

“We do not want this to be just another shifting of the deck chairs, as we have seen with natural resource restructures in the past. Many of the major problems with the Department of Natural Resources were related to problem staff in key positions and this must be addressed.

“We also want to see a major shift to fact-based transparent decision-making that is grounded on the best available scientific information in the management of our natural resources.

“We look forward to best practice vegetation monitoring, strong action on illegal land-clearing, proper regulation of logging on private land, improved environmental flows for our ailing rivers and real whole-of-government progress on addressing climate change by the new Department of Environment and Climate Change and its Minister.

“These changes signal a new era of responsible environmental management”, concluded Mr Cox.

Contact details:

Andrew Cox 9299 0000 (w); 0438 588 040 (mob)

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Bob Smith

The button gets pressed for the final LC Count next Tuesday morning

Edited by BOB_SMITH
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