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AMA calls on PM to engage an external negotiator for marine zones

by Dean Logan AMA on 29 Nov 2012
Marine Park Zones .. ©
The decision late yesterday by the National Seafood Industry Alliance (NSIA) to withdraw completely from negotiations over the implementation of the Gillard Government’s marine reserve network – the largest marine reserve network in the world – has been applauded by industry, communities and families.

This now means the Gillard Government does not have a mandate to move forward and must go back to the drawing board in the interests of protecting the environment and saving businesses and small communities.

CEO of the Australian Marine Alliance Dean Logan, 'The NSIA decision means around 90% of industry has
disengaged completely with the Gillard Government over the marine reserve network. By any measure that
is staggering policy and leadership failure.'

The AMA and its members pulled out of negotiations nearly 6 months ago arguing the process was
inherently flawed and delivered far less for the environment than can and should be achieved. We withdrew
our support for the following reasons:

1. Established processes had been breached by the Government and federal bureaucrats;
2. Structures established for the SE Bio-Region were dismantled without notice;
3. The consultation process was poorly handled with the AMA asking the Minister’s Senior Adviser to
head back to Perth and consult more effectively with industry groups;
4. The entire process was plagued by secret maps and back-room deals with selected participants;
5. The Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) was, and continues to be, one of the most appalling many
have seen, warranting in our view, a full investigation by the Commonwealth Ombudsman;
6. The ABARES socio-economic assessment was inadequate, rushed and failed to address real
concerns;
7. Within 2 weeks of announcing the largest marine reserve network in the world to protect the
environment the Gillard Government allocated hundreds of oil and gas leases in the same areas;
8. Rather than negotiate a sound outcome Minister Burke has belittled and badgered anyone who dared
questioned his leadership;
9. The science underpinning the entire process is still treated as ‘confidential’ by the Government;
10. Minister Burke has not at any stage identified what threats his decision is protecting the marine
environment from.

Mr Logan concluded, 'We now have two choices; we can continue to fight bitterly and take the issue to the
election or; we can sit down and negotiate an outcome based on science that appreciates the fact that the
environment benefits significantly more when industry and communities are engaged in delivering the
solution.

'The AMA therefore calls on Prime Minister Gillard to engage a negotiator, perhaps Craig Knowles, to
address this impasse.

'Industry is ready and willing to sit down and talk, but we will not support the current process. Industry will
stand shoulder to shoulder with the NSIA until change is evidenced.'

More at www.australianmarinealliance.com.au
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