Federal election 2022: Labor and Libs Marine Park plans

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THE federal election is just over a week away and pre-poll voting is now open. And while election debates are currently centred around inflation, interest rates, and minimum wage rates, if you’re into fishing, you may be more interested in knowing where major parties stand in regards to recreational fishing policies. 

With so much focus on Marine Parks in the previous two federal elections and imminent reviews forthcoming, will there be any changes to the Marine Park process after this year’s election? In good news for fishos, the Australian Labor Party and the Liberal National Party have committed to maintain the current Federal Marine Park network after this election.

In a letter responding to the Australian Trade Association (AFTA), Seafood Industry Australia (SIA), the Boating industry Association, and the Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF), Labor’s spokesperson for oceans Josh Wilson MP said: “While in the lead-up to the 2019 election we believed there was scope to consider adjustments to marine park zoning, we accept that since that time the network has been delivered in a settled form.”

“We agree that certainty in park management is critical and so we don’t intend to revisit that matter outside of the statutory review processes,” said Wilson.

In a separate statement released on May 10, Josh Wilson said Labor will provide $4 million to small states and territories to assist with the management of their marine parks and confirmed the review process for the National Marine Parks will be “timely, consultative, and properly resourced”.

Federal Minister for the Environment The Hon Susan Ley MP reiterated the coalition’s commitment to maintaining the current network of Marine Parks after the upcoming election.

“The Coalition Government is committed to maintaining our robust Australian Marine Park network in its current form,” said Ley.

“We are proud of the balanced approach we have achieved towards ocean management that supports Australian industries and protects our precious marine environment for all Australians.

“Our Australian Marine Park management plans have adopted carefully targeted zoning, based on the best available science and extensive consultation, which achieve world-leading environmental protections while significantly reducing impacts on users, including fishers,” said Ley.

As an election sweetener aimed at rec fishos, Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently announced a commitment of $20 million towards upgraded fishing and camping facilities.

“A re-elected Morrison Government will provide more than 100 new projects across Australia’s coastal and regional communities to extend boat ramps, jetties, cleaning stations, disability-accessible toilet blocks and campground facility upgrades,” said Morrison.

The Prime Minister also confirmed the Government’s stance on Marine Parks.

“As part of our support for our vast fishing industry, we are also committed to maintaining our robust Australian Marine Park network in its current form, to provide certainty to our fishers,” said Morrison.

What about then minor parties and their stance on fishing?

The Greens, as expected, promised to “Expand the network of Marine Protected areas”, while also extending the ban on super trawlers to include 95 metre vessels. Labor was also vocal in its objection to super trawlers.

Other minor parties such as One Nation and United Australia have not made clear their policies towards recreational fishing or national Marine Parks.

With the election just over a week away, stay tuned to the Fishing World website for the latest news and announcements.

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