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Marine Parks Mauled In Parliament

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The Marine Park Ammendment Act is currently being dealt with in the lower house of the NSW Parliament.

There are a raft of changes, fines double to $1000 for for fishing in those sacred sanctuary zones and the Minister can move zone boundaries without consultation.

The Opposition has gone on the offensive. They haven't missed much. Hansard makes entertaining reading for fishers who are offended by marine parks. It's definitely worth looking at.

See Tuesday 26-2-08 (especially addresses by Andrew Frazer, Member for Coffs Harbour, and Andrew Constance, Member for Bega):


"None of this is based on scientific evidence. I am glad that I have an audience on the government backbenches, as I will be on my feet for quite some time. I have a paper from Emeritus Professor Bob Kearney, PhD, DSc, AM. That paper, which was delivered on 12 September 2007 to the Australian Society for Fish Biology in Canberra, relates to Batemans Marine Park. I will come back to that paper. Members opposite, who have a lot to learn tonight, should hang around rather than walk into caucus and stick up their hands and say, "Yes, this seems like a good idea." What would occur if we applied the same conditions? I would not introduce a bill to turn the areas around Manly, Sydney Harbour or Maroubra into a marine park because one of the dills on the government benches would think it was a damn good idea and that is what would occur.

Every recreational fisherman in Sydney—there are two million in New South Wales, each of whom pays $25 a year to support the fisheries in this State because this Government will not fund them—would be on my back because they would lose their ability to fish. The Government will not create a marine park in that area for exactly the same reason: it would be unacceptable politically. Prior to the last election Opposition members travelled to the North Coast, to Tweed and to Port Stephens. I offer my condolences to the family of the former member for Port Stephens who tragically passed away, but I would suggest that even he would have realised that we now have a Liberal member for Port Stephens because of the attitude of locals in that area to the proposed marine park."

And Constance:

"I cannot believe the platitudes I have just heard from the member for Miranda in support of the Marine Parks Amendment Bill. He said there is science about the marine parks. Where is it? He should produce it and show it to the community. He should show it to those communities that want to know how the Iemma Government's decisions in relation to marine parks are affecting their livelihoods. I cannot believe how Labor members make motherhood statements in this place that are not backed by fact."


And Wednesday 27-2-08 (Again Frazer and Constance plus the third Andrew, Stoner, Member for Oxley and Michael Richardson, Member for Castle Hill. If you are not offended by dribbling green ideology and defamatory remarks about marine park skeptic Emeritus Prof. Bob Kearney of the ANU, then have a look at Verity Firth (Balmain!) and Robert Coombes (Swansea)).

Bob Kearney quoted:

"My paper demonstrates that the Bateman Marine Park is so badly conceived and designed that it will not bring the possible benefits on which international support for marine protection is based. Put simply, the Bateman's Marine Park is not a marine protected area. It fails to provide the protection of biodiversity, and individual species, conservationists and fisheries managers expect in a marine protected area. No significant protection is given against even the key threats identified by the Marine Parks Authority. Even its sanctuary zones are nothing more than fisheries allocation mechanisms, and extremely poorly designed ones at that. No amount of wishful reference by the Minister, or the Marine Parks Authority, to the benefits that might have flowed had the Park been well designed, will change the fact that it is not."


"When Bob Kearney presented his paper on area management for aquatic resources to 70 scientists at the Australian Society for Fish Biology conference the overwhelming response by appropriately qualified scientists, as opposed to politicians from Balmain, was to confirm the validity of the assessments given."

Coombes response, shoot the messenger:

"I just love how the Opposition always drag out these roosters. Now it is Professor Kearney. This reminds me of the efforts of the tobacco industry to search out scientific support for its product."

Apparently you have to be a rooster to get a PhD, a DSc and an AM and work as NSW Fisheries chief scientist for years!!


Edited by bayrunner
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Come election time, I just hope the opposition are switched on enough to make this a big issue.

I know it is around Port Stephens. If they are smart they will seize on comments made suggesting a Marine Park around Sydney. Then run the scare campaign that will hopefully have the effect of reviewing all the stupidity we know as Marine Parks.

I read the Professor's report and whilst I am obviously biased, I cant see how anybody could dismiss his findings.

Here's hoping.

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Come election time, I just hope the opposition are switched on enough to make this a big issue.

Unfortunately come election time the opposition won't give a flying .......

They, like most pollies would drain the harbour if it got them a vote :(

Cynical Robbie.

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QUOTE(Dave B @ Mar 1 2008, 06:02 PM) 225973[/snapback]

Good stuff Bayrunner-what a flea Coombes is,to be so snidely dismissive of a man of Bob Kearney"s credentials under the cover of privilege.

Yes and how about Verity Firth. She described him as a literal lone voice in the scientific community. Never mind that his paper was peer reviewed and presented to 70 other fisheries scientist and was well received!

And what about Prof Colin Buxton, Richard Tizley, Dr Walter Starck, Dr Julian Peperell, Dr Ben Diggles who have been highly critical of these marine parks. Then there's overseas experts such as Prof Ray Hillborn and Dr Shipton.

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Here is Hansard the next day:


Consideration in Detail

Debate resumed from 27 February 2008.

Mr ANDREW CONSTANCE (Bega) [3.59 p.m.]: The member for Coffs Harbour has moved a number of very sensible amendments that the Minister proposes to reject on behalf of the Labor Government. It has dawned on people throughout country and coastal New South Wales that the Government has introduced this legislation and amendments have been proposed by various groups who have expressed concern. The Minister did not do her job over the summer, as she promised she would when she introduced the bill in December, and failed to consult.

In November on behalf of the Coastal Rights Association I drew attention to the manner in which zoning for the newly established Batemans Marine Park had been undertaken and stated that the Governor had been misled by the Government. Section 16 subsections (2) to (5) state that the relevant Ministers, who at that time were Minister Debus and Minister Macdonald, were to cause public notice to be given of proposed regulations relating to a zoning plan for the marine park. Section 16 describes the notice that must be given and the issues that must be considered before any further action can be taken in respect of the proposed regulations. The regulations were later signed off by the Government.

The point sought to be made at that time related to the way in which the consultation process was undertaken particularly in respect of trawling. This afternoon concerned fishermen, particularly members of the Coastal Rights Association, pointed out to me that the amending bill is a direct result of the Government becoming aware of having been caught out misrepresenting the situation to the Governor. The misrepresentation was discovered during consultation, and that brought trawling anomalies to light. Because due process was not followed in the creation of the zoning and operational plans for the six marine parks that currently exist, the argument advanced by the fishermen is that the parks were not legally established, and it follows that compliance was not enforceable.

It has been suggested to me that the bill is an attempt to cover up the problem by making changes to the Marine Parks Act regarding the creation of zoning operational plans for marine parks. By deeming all existing zoning operational plans created under section 16 of the 1997 Act to be impliedly repealed but subsequently renewed by new section 17C, the Government is seeking to make the provisions legal. On 13 December 2006 Minister Macdonald described changes effecting the removal of commercial fish trawling and dredging for shellfish as a major change from the draft zoning plan and a big win for the recreational fishing industry. This leads me to discuss the effect of minor changes and their significance.

The Government has misled the people of this State and the Governor in respect of its zoning plans. This bill is a device to clarify the situation and retrospectively rectify the zoning and operational plans applying to the State's marine parks. The concerns relating to the legality of section 16 of the original Act are sought to be addressed by the passing of new section 17C. I commend the Coastal Rights Association for drawing that matter to the attention of the Parliament.

Mr ANDREW FRASER (Coffs Harbour—Deputy Leader of The Nationals) [4.04 p.m.]: I had not intended to participate in consideration of the bill in detail, so I will be brief. As the member for Bega noted, the debate this week has generated a great deal of consternation within communities across New South Wales. Emails are being sent thick and fast from the fishing fraternity who have found that assurances given by the Minister and statements made by Government members in the Parliament are inaccurate. Last night the Government knew full well that if the amendments had been put to a vote, it did not have the numbers, so Government members filibustered for approximately 10 minutes.

I note the look on the face of the Minister at the table. I admit that I spoke at length and I promise not to do so now. However, the Government engaged in calculated filibustering. The member for Swansea espoused the virtues of marine parks—he said how great they are and what a great fisherman he is—so last night I offered to have Parliamentary Counsel draw up a marine park that will cover the area he described in his speech, including places like Blacksmiths, the Swansea Channel and Lake Macquarie, and then we will see whether Labor members become alert to the concerns of the fishing fraternity of New South Wales. I restate that offer in Hansard now. As the member for Wagga Wagga said yesterday, the member for Swansea advocated that course yesterday, and the Opposition will be pleased to have a marine park drawn up. That will test the mettle of the member for Swansea and other Labor members.

Today I received an email from Rod Burston, who is spokesman for the New South Wales Fishing Clubs Association. Mr Burston lives in Kiama Downs on the South Coast—an area of Labor electorates. He states:

Dear Mr Fraser,

Today I read your address concerning the Marine Park Amendment Bill currently before the Legislative Assembly. On behalf of members of the NSW Fishing Clubs Association and the vast majority of fishers in NSW, I congratulate you, Andrew Constance and Rob Stokes or so effectively bringing the issues to the attention of Parliament.

The recreational and commercial fishers have been poorly represented by the current government, especially in relation to marine parks. Our organisation is dominated by Labor heartland voters but they are rapidly educating themselves on the issues and losing patience, as you observe to be the case in the seat of Port Stephens.

In your address I notice you refer to an injection by the Member for Wollongong … "Government members say that he should get a new global positioning system, but he has had to pay the Government $500. I find it really amazing that someone who represents the people of Wollongong would make such a statement." I can't find her comments in the record which is a great pity because they would be of interest to fishing families in Wollongong. Are you able to help so I can pass the word around?

I will help because the comment is represented in Hansard as an interruption. I can state categorically, both inside and outside Parliament, that it was the member for Wollongong, Noreen Hay, who made an inane interjection. It was not recorded in Hansard but if I can obtain a film of the debate, it will come through loud and clear, and I will give it to him. His email goes on to state:

As you are aware, there is no requirement for fishers to … operate a GPS while in a marine park. In any case, there is a disclaimer on all GPS sets that they should not be relied upon for navigation. Interestingly, marine park zoning plans have a similar disclaimer! For example, the Bateman's Marine Park Zoning Plan User Guide says "This brochure should not be used for navigation or legal interpretation purposes." I am sure Jerri Rossi will be interested in this.

Those comments indicate that the boundaries are unclear and that those who police them are unclear about the boundaries as well, yet people are being convicted on the word of the fisheries officer or a marine parks officer. The Government's amendment states that no longer will it be a requirement for members of the Department of Environment and Conservation or New South Wales Fisheries to be the compliance officers, so it could be anyone issuing the fine who is overzealous and does not understand the boundaries or other issues relating to the marine park.

The problem is that the people who are booking the fishermen are relying on a global positioning satellite but at the same time they are saying that fishermen should not rely on a GPS. In the case of Jerry Rossi, whose GPS was wrong? I suggest it was the one used by the marine parks officers. When Mr Rossi was pulled up in Solitary Islands Marine Park he gave the officers the reading, which they accepted. It is disgraceful that such a situation can arise. Mr Burston further said:

We had a similar incident down here in Jervis Bay MP two years ago. Retired policeman Wayne Topham and his mate were inadvertently fishing in Hammerhead sanctuary zone when they were confronted by marine park officials. They didn't have a GPS and the zone was poorly marked with only one buoy. The boundary of the zone is not perpendicular to the beach as it runs east west while the line of the beach is about SE – NW. They hadn't caught any fish at the time. Another boat fishing deeper in the zone had caught fish but were let off with a caution on the basis they weren't locals. After a two year wait, his case will be heard in Nowra this Friday. You can contact Wayne … for accurate details. Wayne is justifiably angry and we will be more than happy to assist politically after the hearing—

Wayne is a retired police officer who has been unjustly booked under this proposed system—

Thank you for your interest and again for highlighting the issues in Parliament. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you need information or assistance in the future.

Rod Burston, who is the spokesman for the New South Wales Fishing Clubs Association, is concerned, as is everyone, about the lack of consultation as highlighted by the member for Bega. Labor members have taken the opportunity to make defamatory remarks in this House about Emeritus Professor Bob Kearney.

Mr David Campbell: Talk about the bill! Don't get down to the gutter.

Mr ANDREW FRASER: The Minister wants me to talk about the bill and not get down to the gutter. That was his contribution. Government members lack any understanding. What do they do? They shoot down an emeritus professor inside coward's castle. I tell them to repeat outside this place the remarks they made about Professor Kearney when this bill was previously debated and let him take appropriate action. Professor Kearney, who is a highly regarded scientist, raised legitimate concerns about the lack of scientific evidence and the precautionary principle when zonings were put in place and exclusion zones and park boundaries were being set. They are legitimate concerns from an internationally renowned scientist.

On behalf of Professor Kearney I am offended by the way members opposite disparaged him. I would love to hear members opposite withdraw those remarks, but I know they will not do so. This legislation is framed to ensure that a Minister can make changes. Last night the Minister said—I still cannot come to grips with this—that a minor change is the changing of the boundary of a marine park. I commend the amendments, and I suggest that the Government support them.

Mr DAVID CAMPBELL (Keira—Minister for Police, and Minister for the Illawarra) [4.13 p.m.]: The Government is opposed to the amendments, as explained in detail in the House on previous occasions. I do not intend to detain the House further by repeating them. The Government will simply vote against the amendments.

Question—That the amendments be agreed to—put.

The House divided. (the Bill was passed)

Wayne Topham and his mate were convicted of fishing in Hammerhead sanctuary zone in Jervis Bay Marine Park in Nowra court last Friday. They had appealed for leniency as they did not intend to fish in a sanctuary zone (it was very poorly marked with just one buoy so they couldn't get a line on the boundary), had not caught any fish, and two people fishing deeper in the zone at the time were let off with a caution. The two let off had caught fish but were not locals.

The judge found both men guilty, maintained the $500 fine, awarded costs against them and gave them criminal records to boot. It is reported the judge said they intended to harm wildlife and this was as bad as killing it. He said it was the responsibility of fishers to stay out of sanctuary zones and the MPA had no responsibility to maintain marker buoys or to ensure they were in the right place. He was unconcerned that others committing more serious offences had merely received a caution.

Both men are considering whether they will lodge an appeal.

This story has just begun. I'll keep you posted.



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There are good points to having a marine park but not many. Like taking the dozen nets out of the Clyde river but then they gave out purmits for traps, WTF ? It was also good to see the removal of the prawn trallers along Long Beach. Hopefuly fish will come back to these underwater deserts that the trallers have created, not likley?

What good is it have a no take zone west of tolgates, this was a great place to get out of the wind and swell. No great grounds there, just safe fishing.

Why did they ask every one where they like to fish? Answer to take it away from you as the Greens dont want to see the the fish with a hook in its mouth ( I bet they eat fish bought from suppermarkets that are undersize) :thumbdown:

And while I'm on size limits, why is it a kingy has to be over 65cm when that large a fish can have millions of fry and it is definitely to big to feed one person. What about a min of one under this size?

How can they double the fine when the markings for them are poor and hard to see and there picture on the maps are different to the longs and lats supplied ? What about the poles they were to erect to see if you were in or out of the zone. I see people all the time fishing in no take zones and taking under sized fish but no one is there to police it.

I can only hope that fishing in this area will improve over time if there is some resonable fishing grounds to fish in.

Keep up the good work Bayrunner

Edited by bbayjohn
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I didn't read all the responces but if they exempted rec fisherman from Marine Parks i would vote liberal for the first time EVER in state politics and I know tens of people that would do that as well.

As far as i'm concerned they have taken it too far to even ask to be able to double fines and "move boundaries without consultation" who the hell do they think they are!

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I'm in the same boat Yeeros. I voted Coalition for the first time ever in the last election purely on the marine parks issue. Their policies on fishing looked very good. Eg if I recall correctly the scrapping of 2 marine parks and a review of zoning of the remainder with a favourable view towards angling. The buyout of commercial licenses with a clause that they can't re-enter the industry for 20 years. With a federal Labor government and the repeal of Workchoices there is less reason for working people to vote Labor at the state level.

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Yep and as hard as it is to say as i have always been a die hard labour supporter for federal ( i voted shooters party in the last state election) I would vote coalition for sure in the next election.

I also think Labour have gotten a bit comfortable and corrupt in state government in NSW and frankly don't deserve to be there anymore.

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While the :wife: was checking the

Nsw legistion website

And the Marine Park Admendments Bill 2007

She found this





Batemans Marine Park Zoning Plan

13 December 2006

“It is important to note that these changes come into affect in six months from now, and there will be no restrictions whatsoever on fishing in the area this summer. The plan itself will be reviewed in 5 years.”


Marine Parks Amendment Bill 2007

zoning plans will be reviewed initially five years after commencement, and then every ten years;

(4) Section 17C (2)–(6) apply to the making of an amendment to the

zoning plan for a marine park in the same way as they apply to

the making of a zoning plan under that section unless the relevant

Ministers are of the opinion that:

(a) the amendment is to be made as a consequence of any

event referred to in subsection (2) (a)–©, or

B the proposed amendment is of a minor nature.

So they have not taken any notice of the fact that we were led to believe that there would be no changes to the marine park for 5 years. I do remember seeing this in writing but have been unable to track it down, as they conveniently wipe all past documentation from the mpa website. And now they have implemented a system that not only allows them to make changes but ensures that those changes are very rarely reviewed to ensure their practicality. Who decides which amendments are minor and which ones are significant? If the pollies can make amendments to the zoning without consultation then the system is open to abuse whereby ministers can make “minor” changes to the zoning without any viable reason, just to sway party votes in other issues. There is no accountability.

(2) Despite subsection (1), the Authority is not required to review the

operational plan for a marine park under that subsection after the

amendment of the zoning plan for the marine park if the

Authority is of the opinion that the amendment is minor in nature.

The mpa does not even have to and I am sure would be discouraged from, reviewing any amendments that are “minor”.

May I ask a stupid question?

Who works for who?

Do we work for the government OR do they work for us.

The tables are turning far to much to the former in all aspects of our government.

I say we should stop paying them, if only we could. :mad3:

Edited by bbayjohn
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