Labor & Greens oppose Senate inquiry into marine reserves

QUEENSLAND Nationals Senator Ron Boswell, today slammed the defeat of a motion to refer the federal Government's proposed network of marine parks to the Rural and Regional Affairs Senate Committee. Senator Boswell says its is a major blow to recreational and commercial fishermen, charter fishing and marine dealers and allied businesses.

In a press statement the senator said a Senate inquiry would have given all affected groups the opportunity to have their concerns raised on the record and would allow the Government's policy to be scrutinised.

He says Environment Minister Tony Burke has engaged in "selective consultation" and has failed to explain to the Australian fishing industry what the economic implications of these proposed marine reserve parks will be.

"Mr Burke seems to only be interested in boasting that Australia will lead the world with 70 percent of the world's marine reserves, and was devastated that his chance to brag to other Environment Ministers at the Rio+20 conference was denied.

"Mr Burke has shown little regard for the amateur and commercial fishing industries and the many local communities that depend on fishing for their livelihoods.

"The Government is denying Australians a major food source. Australia currently imports 72 per cent of our seafood from other nations and we extract less than 30 kilograms of marine catch per square kilometre from our own oceans. We import most of our seafood from Thailand who extract more than 6,000 kilograms of marine catch per square kilometre from their waters.

"If Minister Burke is so proud of this policy, he should be prepared to have it examined in an open and transparent process such as a Senate inquiry. There are so many questions that need to be answered, as fishermen have been left in the dark with very few details provided."

Read Senator Boswell's complete statement here.

NOTE - Senator Boswell yesterday delivered a speech to the Senate on the Government's marine reserves proposal - Read the speech here.

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