Boswell warns Labor to reject marine parks report

Queensland Nationals Senator Ron Boswell said Labor will pay the price in state and federal elections if its plan for a network of marine reserves around Australia follows the recommendations of a University of Queensland study, released last week.

The study, commissioned by Pew, calls for 50 per cent of 1.2 million square kilometres of ocean off the south-west Australian coast to be placed in marine sanctuaries – with fishing constraints extending potentially way beyond even that vast area.

Senator Boswell said the Coalition, as well as the recreational and commercial fishing industries, would wage “war” on federal and state Labor governments in every coastal seat around the country if it gave the “slightest credibility” to the Pew funded work.

“Labor knows that the campaign waged against it at the last election by the fishing industry, especially the recreational industry, and the Coalition, was very effective in many coastal seats where there was a sufficiently strong emphasis on it,” Boswell said.

“Witness what happened in Queensland, especially. All those players remain on high alert.

“I can personally promise Labor that if there is even the vaguest reflection of the extreme views of Pew, the Greens, and their friends in the environment industry, in the draft plans they will be rolling out over the next year or so, and starting very soon, they will face Armageddon at both the state and federal levels. There is a New South Wales election in March.”

Labor’s draft plan for a network of marine reserves around Australia, out to the 200 nautical mile limit of the exclusive economic zone, is due within weeks. The plan will be for the south-west region, stretching 200 nautical miles offshore from South Australia to beyond Perth in Western Australia.

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