Environment

Coalition will scrap marine parks: Colbeck

NO-FISHING areas in Tony Burke’s federal marine parks would be wound back if an Abbott government wins power at next year’s election, Coalition fisheries spokesman Senator Richard Colbeck said today.

In a phone interview with Fisho this afternoon, Senator Colbeck said he was “not in favour of vast swathes of ocean being locked up … as a monument to environmentalism”.

While admitting any future Coalition government would be “somewhat constrained by regulations” when it came to changing marine park boundaries, Senator Colbeck said management plans governing activities in the marine parks would be closely looked at and would more than likely change following a Coalition win. A scientific committee would be established if Tony Abbott takes over as PM following the 2013 poll, the Senator said. This committee would advise on the measures needed to ensure comprehensive marine protection.

“We want to look after whole of our ocean resources, not just bits of it,” Senator Colbeck said. “We need a broader suite of tools (than just lock-ups) to manage our marine environment.”

Senator Colbeck said the entire marine parks plan could be scrapped if the Coalition won power in both the Senate and the Lower House. Agreement from both Houses was needed if the marine parks legislation was to be overturned.

Senator Colbeck accused Environment Minister Tony Burke of engaging in “show and tell antics” instead of serious consultation and said Mr Burke was more interested in “maintaining his own legacy” than he was in developing serious environmental protection for Australia’s marine resources.

Senator Colbeck said he did not support differentiating between recreational and commercial fishing activities.

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