Due to the importance of this issue, I'll go and pack
my bags waiting for another week in the cool room from
Please forward on & act now.
MARINE NATIONAL PARKS ALERT - News just in from
Victorian Parliament (12 June 2.30pm)
The State Government has given the Opposition 24 hours
notice to reconsider their position on the Marine
National Parks and Marine Sanctuaries Bill or the Bill
will be withdrawn.
The Opposition said this afternoon that while they
supported a system of marine national parks, they
would not support the inclusion of Section 85 in the
legislation. The Government responded by saying that
they would not expose the public to compensation
claims by the commercial fishing sector, and that they
might have to consider establishing the parks one by
The Network has been informed that parties are
planning to hold discussions this afternoon in last
minute bid to salvage the package.
Talk-back radio will be very important in the morning
- if you can please consider ringing either John Fein
or Neil Mitchell's program, this would be useful.
The main point to stress is that this initiative is
too important to lose and that politicians can (and
have in the past) resolved issues similar to this e.g.
the scallop licence buy-out from Port Phillip Bay (see
How many sea birds feed off of marine provided food?
why are we as humans now starving them?
The issue of compensation has had a high profile in
this debate and we offer the following comments:
Marine national parks are created in the interest of
conserving a valuable public resource and are in the
public interest. Government's do not normally
compensate for actions that 'limit freedoms in the
commons' e.g. fishery regulations. The Victorian
community, including the fishing sector will benefit
from the introduction of a marine national park
The level of claims for compensation from the fishing
industry are not supported by the ECC report or the
State Government's assessment.
The Government has conceded that the present Bill
extends its intentions in relation to compensation
and, as stated in Parliament, intends to amend the
As with other resource issues, where industry can
demonstrate that Government actions have severely
impacted on their operations, there should be some
opportunity for Government to consider submissions
from industry on this basis.
We are not able to comment on the legal aspects
associated with the constitutional amendment except to
say that we believe commercial access to natural
resources must be based on scientific concepts of
sustainability, not a legal interpretation of property
Section 85 was used in legislation over 150 times by
the Kennett government, over 110 times by the Kirner /
Cain government, and over 20 times by the present
government. The Kennett government also used the
constitutional amendment (Section 85) in the
legislation to establish the Yarra Ranges National
The Kennett Government, during the removal of the
Scallop Industry from Port Phillip Bay, used the
constitutional amendment (Section 85) to restrict
claims for compensation by fishermen, but set up a
process that reviewed industry eligibility for
structural readjustment. This process could provide
guidance as to how to recognise the concerns of the
fishing industry in relation to marine national parks
and to determine "fair value" of any impacts. This
process saw a working group set up, with terms of
reference and considered submissions made by industry.
It took formal advice from experts. The group then
advised the Premier and Treasurer of the findings and
a financial package was offered to industry. Such a
process would be parallel with the implementation of
the marine national parks.
It is important to recognise that, in this case, 84
scallop licenses were completely bought out. In the
case of the marine national parks, impact will be
minor and will not remove any licenses.
As the ECC recognised, fishers will still be able to
fish beyond reserve boundaries so they are not losing
their entitlement to fish.
Marine and Coastal Community Network
10 Parliament Place
Ph: Int +61 3 9650 4846
Fax: Int +61 3 9654 6843
Mobile: 0407 519 395
The Marine and Coastal Community Network (MCCN) works
to increase Australians' understanding, appreciation,
management and protection of marine and coastal
environments and their biodiversity. It does this by
initiating and supporting community involvement in
marine and coastal conservation efforts including
government programs, and by providing information and
opinion to MCCN participants from a variety of
The MCCN is a national program administered by the
Australian Marine Conservation Society. It is
supported by the Federal Government's Marine Program.
We have a Regional Coordinator in each State and the
Territory. To receive the Network's free national and
state newsletters, 'Waves' and 'Regional Ripples',
email your details to <>
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