To view and print a copy of the petition, click here
FEDERAL Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch is rallying North Queenslanders to ‘Say No’ to the proposed closure of the Coral Sea, today launching a petition against the government and green groups’ “campaign of misinformation”.
With this petition, titled ‘Don’t Lock Us Out’, Mr Entsch joins a number of MPs and Senators up and down Australia’s coastlines who are calling for an urgent halt to the Federal Government’s marine park process.
They cite key concerns with the current proposal, which will close more than 40 per cent of traditional fishing waters around the country, as well as;
– Increasing Australia’s net import of seafood by a further $1.5 billion
– Cost taxpayers $58.2 million to manage the closed areas
– Adversely impact 60 regional communities
– Cost 36,000 jobs in fishing and related industries
– Lock out fishers while leaving the area exposed to foreign poachers
“We’re calling on this government to reassess the proposal before the closures absolutely decimate the livelihoods of local businesses that rely on access to the Coral Sea’s resources,” Mr Entsch said.
“The focus has to be on sustainable use of our marine environment, not on some ideological position of locking up huge areas and throwing away the key.
“With appropriate management, our marine resources are renewable and we should be adopting a basic principle of sustainable use, and if it isn’t sustainable, then the activity should not be allowed.”
Mr Entsch said he could not stress enough the importance of people making the effort to sign this petition, as it is “absolutely the last chance to reject the government’s proposal as it stands”.
“This decision is not just about fishermen and related businesses, it is also about retailers who pride themselves on selling quality Australian seafood products, along with restaurants and caterers – it will have an impact right across our whole community and across our country.”
The petition asks the House of Representatives to urge the government to halt the current process of establishing marine parks and to ensure that any future marine park boundaries are;
– Based on science that is made available to all stakeholders,
– Based on assessments of all risks to the environment by marine activities,
– Accompanied by socio-economic research to show the impacts on commercial fisheries, charter businesses, recreational anglers, and associated communities and industries, including tourism; and
– Considerate of Australia’s future food security needs.
“The most ridiculous thing is that these closures come at the same time as Australia has the largest per capita fishing zone and the lowest fisheries harvest rate in the world, at 1/30th of the global average,” Mr Entsch explained.
“This public scare campaign – that Australia needs huge marine parks – is a result of the insidious influence of an international ‘Gangreen’ environmental group, the American oil and gas funded PEW Foundation.
“The Coral Sea campaign is only the thin edge of the wedge this organisation has openly stated that it is their intention to continue to lock up Australian marine resources with the Gulf of Carpentaria and other areas of Northern Australia being the next target.
“They should leave these decisions to Australian marine users, who can certainly be trusted with the sustainable management of our highly-valued marine resources.”
The petitions will be available at fishing, tackle and outdoor shops around Cairns and Cape York, as well as at seafood restaurants and other businesses that are indirectly reliant on fishing or marine activities.
It will also be available to print off through Mr Entsch’s website (see above – please note signatures must be original, not in electronic form.
The final 60-day public consultation period, from which Environment Minister Tony Burke will decide whether the marine reserves should go ahead, closes on September 10th, 2012.
However, in order for the petitions to be collated and tabled in parliament during the sitting period prior to the deadline, the signed petitions must be returned by Friday, August 10th in any of the following ways:
– By post to PO Box 14, Bungalow, QLD 4870;
– In person to Mr Entsch’s office in the MacDonnells Building, 102 Grafton St, Cairns; or
– In person to Mitchell’s Marine, 303-305 Draper St, Cairns
For more information, queries or for additional copies of the petition, please contact Heather Beck on 07 4051 2220 or 0427 585668.