For those interested in more detail on the Commonwealth Marine Parks management plans, here is a summary from Seafood Industry Australia CEO Jane Lovell of what has happened in Parliament over the last month.
The Coalition tabled the final management plans on March 21. Labor moved to disallow the plans on March 21 in the Senate and the House of Representatives on March 26. The disallowance has to be dealt with within 15 sitting days. Given the strength of support from the professional and recreational fishers, the Coalition took the unusual step of bringing the vote on the disallowance on Tuesday, March 27. With the support of the entire Senate crossbench the disallowance failed. This is an extremely positive result for professional fishers. It is due to a number of factors, not the least of which were:
- Management plans that were well consulted and well considered, enabling commercial and recreational fishers to support them.
- SIA taking on coordination role for commercial industry, including developing and circulating key talking points, encouraging members to lobby and develop media releases and maintaining strong links to Parliament to keep members updated on developments.
- SIA initiating discussions with recreational fishers that resulted in commercial and recreational national peak industry bodies presenting a united front and communicating this in the form of letters to all Federal politicians supporting the draft management plans, followed by a media release to all Senators and key media outlets supporting the final management plans.
- Effective lobbying of Senators, in person and by email / phone, prior to and immediately after the final plans were released by so many of our members.
- Positive media comment from SIA ahead of the disallowance in key publications including the Sydney Morning Herald and the Financial Review.
In this instance, the discussions and preparation undertaken before the final plans were released enabled us to rapidly assure politicians and the community of our support and of key facts relating to fisheries management and the role of Marine Parks. Particular thanks to David Ellis (Tuna Australia), Neil Macdonald (GABIA), Tricia Beattie (PFA), John Harrison (WAFIC), Eric Perez (QSIA), Katherine Winchester (NTSC), Annie Jarrett (ACPF), Aaron Irving (PPA), Johnathon Davey (SIV), Franca Romeo (Wildcatch SA), Renee Vajtauer (CFA) and Julian Harrington (TSIC). Also special thanks to the individuals business owners who contacted politicians – the Walkers, Tim Hess, Stuart Richey. I am sure there are others – again thank you.
The Labor/Greens response to this defeat in the Senate with a further five disallowances, one for each of the parks under consideration, is unsurprising.
We can expect continued attempts to link Marine Parks with all sorts of other issues – foreign vessels, ghost nets, super trawlers…
We are developing a communications strategy to promote the positives of these management plans as well as reacting to negative stories and misrepresentation of the facts. This involves maintaining the support of the crossbenches as well as ensuring our key state and sectorial fishing associations have appropriate resources available to respond to media enquiries and articles.
Please take any opportunities to thank the crossbenchers and the Coalition for their support.
If you would like help to produce localised media releases or stories or you get asked to comment and would like some support – please contact Jessica.