Draft Marine Park plans more about ‘big oil’ than fisheries

Draft Marine Park plans more about ‘big oil’ than fisheries

Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie has told Parliament she has “grave concerns” about the Government’s draft management plans for Australia’s marine parks.

With less than a month left in the public consultation period, Rebekha recently told the House of Representatives that the five proposed plans to manage 44 parks over the next 10 years appeared to be more about protecting “offshore mining interests” than fisheries.

While Rebekha said she was relieved that the Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg had heeded her letter asking the Government not to reduce protections for marine reserves around Kangaroo Island, mining could still happen.

“In short, these draft plans are about big oil,” she said.

“The Nick Xenophon Team understands that Australia’s large oil and gas reserves are national economic resources, and our intention is not to stop safe legitimate mining activity.

“However, we also recognise that there are areas of high conservation value that need protection and that there are areas where it is unsafe to drill without the risk of a catastrophe.

“For example, we in the NXT have been very vocal in our opposition to deep-sea oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight, where independent modelling from the Wilderness Society has indicated that a major oil spill could spread across our coasts to as far as the north coast of Tasmania, out to New Zealand in the east and to Esperance in the west.

“This is of particular concern to the coastal communities of Mayo.”

The draft plans were released on July 21 with a 60-day public consultation period.

Rebekha said NXT would reserve its final position on the plans until the consultation process had run its course.

“It is fair to say we have grave concerns on the draft management plans that have been circulated so we reserve our position and remain deeply concerned,” she said.

Rebekha’s full speech is available here http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Hansard/Hansard_Display?bid=chamber/hansardr/c81b363c-b13c-4875-9e05-d8d7236d649b/&sid=0388

The draft management plans can be viewed here https://parksaustralia.gov.au/marine/