Vote goes against SA’s fishos

A PRIVATE Members bill introduced into South Australia’s parliament to reduce the percentage of no-take zones in the state’s marine parks has been defeated.

The bill was opposed today by 21 votes to 20, due to Independent minister Geoff Brock siding with the Labor government.

In the lead-up to the vote a public rally was held on the steps of Parliament House in Adelaide and an online petition asking Brock and former Liberal leader Martin Hamilton-Smith to support the bill had received nearly 6000 signatures. 

The bill introduced by shadow environment minister Michelle Lensink had sought to reduce restrictions in 12 of the more than 80 sanctuary zones in South Australia’s 19 marine parks.

Lensink had argued that while only 6 per cent of state waters are in the zones, over 30 per cent of SA’s highly productive grounds lie within these areas.

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Boat convoy heading to the public rally at Parliament House. Image: Shannon Poulton

The bill had previously passed the Upper House with cross-bench support, before its narrow defeat today in the House of Assembly.

Voting with his former Liberal colleagues, Martin Hamilton-Smith told Parliament he had consulted widely on the marine parks bill, but no-one had been able to specify to him the impact of the sanctuary zones on fishery stocks, In Daily reports.

He said regional community support for the sanctuary zones as they stand was “weak”.

“Once the damage is done to these regional communities, there is no turning back,” he said.

In Daily reports the gallery exploded into applause when he announced his opposition to the bill.

“The proponents of change must always make their case. In this case they have failed to adequately make their case to justify all of the 84 sanctuary zones with the boundaries set to come into effect on 1 October in my view,” he said.

“Once the damage is done to these regional communities, there will be no turning back.”


Supporters of the bill outside Parliament House. Image: Shannon Poulton

Geoff Brock, said the Opposition’s approach was more about politics than the real issues involved.

He said he could not support the bill because it would wipe out 12 of the sanctuary zones without justification.

He said he had gained agreement that there would be ongoing Government assessment of the economic effects of marine parks on regional communities.

No take zones will now be implemented in South Australia from October 1.

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