Doubts raised over Sydney Marine Park submission process


QUESTIONS have been raised over the security and legitimacy of the Sydney Marine Park submission process.

The NSW Government last week announced a new email address – submissions@marine.nsw.gov.au – designed to make the submission process less complicated. However, following the fraudulent hacking of Fishing World’s Marine Park poll, many fishos are questioning if the government’s email address and overall submission process is open to similar fraudulent submissions by anti-fishing groups.

Of particular concern is the risk of non-Australian citizens and members of large international environmental groups influencing the Marine Park outcome via mass emails.

Sydney-based fishing guide Craig McGill expressed his concerns via the Stop The Lockout Facebook page.

“I personally find it outrageous – the suggestion that a non-Australian citizen, living OS, could have a say in something that is going to affect my livelihood, the livelihood of hundreds of businesses, Australian residence recreation and way of life and the management of our natural resources,” said McGill.

“If you reverse the situation, how do you think an American, for example, would react?”

“Am I overreacting or is there something deeply disturbing about this whole thing? Is it okay that a British tourist that has come to Australia, had a swim or a fish, return home, never to be seen on Australian shores again, is allowed to have a say in something that will have such a big impact on Australian society? Or worse still someone who has never even set foot in Australia and never will, can have a say.

“And even if you agree that it’s okay for a non-Australian tourist to have a say, how would MEMA sort out the submissions of the ones who had actually visited and the ones that hadn’t?

“And all this before we even consider the potential for mass group submissions from the radical green groups overseas,” said McGill.

A spokeswoman for the office of Minister for Primary Industries told Fishing World emails are reviewed and identified, including the from non-citizens, however failed to acknowledge the potential problem of international submissions.

“As part of submission analysis for the proposed NSW Marine Estate Management Strategy, all emails received are reviewed and all online submissions are coded. This is to ensure that multiple entries by the same person and overseas entries are identified,” said the spokeswoman.

“The process of analysis goes further than counting votes for and against the proposal.

“Many of the submissions already received point to local use and knowledge, and anyone making a submission is encouraged to provide as much detail as they can,” she said.

The Government’s methods for disseminating details of the submission process has also been brought into question with licence holders complaining of no correspondence between NSW DPI and the 850,000 fishos in the state.

While social media pages are flooded with details of the Sydney Marine park and submission process, a large section of the fishing community without access to social media have been left in the dark.


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