In calling for compensation for commercial and rec fishers displaced by marine parks, federal National Party senator Ron Boswell has set his sights on new Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
In a press release issued this week Boswell states:”The Gillard Government is set to dud fishermen and their communities right around Australia by denying them compensation for fishing restrictions imposed in Environment Minister Peter Garrett’s looming vast network of Marine Protected Areas – to be announced after the election.
“The government is developing MPAs right around the Australian coastline out to the 200 nautical mile limit of the Exclusive Economic Zone. The MPAs will include no-take zones that will impact on commercial and recreational fishing.”
The press release goes on to say a “secret” government report recommends compensation for affected fishermen be restricted to only those holding statutory fishing rights and recommends against compensation or structural adjustment payments for fishing related on-shore businesses and communities. the Queensland-based Senator says that businesses related to recreation fishing will be ignored.
Senator Boswell has also called for transparency in the marine protected areas planning process.
“We’ve now got this report out into the open, and it’s time for Minister Garrett to lay his cards on the table – before the election,” Senator Boswell said.
Fisho contacted Environment Minister Garrett’s office for comment and was told by a spokesman that “as usual Senator Boswell has got it wrong. As the Senator well knows the Government is conducting a marine bioregional planning process right around the country. After all, it was a process that Senator Boswell’s government initiated and this Government is progressing.
“While the priority for the Government is to avoid or minimise impact on existing uses, the Government is nonetheless developing a displaced efforts policy that will guide the approach to any operations impacted after the exhaustive consultations are concluded.
“The report by Andrew Macintosh and Tim Bonyhady is only one input into the policy development process. It will be considered alongside input from stakeholders and other relevant information. It does not represent Government policy.
“A Stakeholder Advisory Group has been established to provide input from sectors that have an interest in the development of the policy.
“Senator Boswell ought to familiarise himself with good process rather than cheap political point scoring and scaremongering.”
According to mainstream media pundits, it is expected that Prime Minister Gillard will call a federal election towards the middle of the year.
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