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$20 million - not enough

Senator Ron Boswell
Senator Ron Boswell

Senator Ron Boswell has issued a press release promising the Labor Government “the mother of all campaigns” in every coastal seat in Australia over the government’s looming plans for massive marine reserves.

In the press release, Senator Boswell cited a story leaked to the Fairfax press recently “as a toe in the water” that suggested the Government has set aside $20 million to compensate professional fishermen for fishing bans in the vast South-West Bioregion, stretching from the Fleurieu Peninsular in South Australia to north of Perth in Western Australia.

“What the Government needs to understand is that the people who are telling them that $20 million will be adequate are the people who advised the previous government that a handful of millions would compensate for fishing bans associated with the rezoning of the Great Barrier Reef marine Park in 2004,” said Senator Boswell. “That bill reached over $220 million.”

Senator Boswell went on to say professional and recreational fishermen needed to contradict a claim in the government’s leaked outline of the South-West constraints that reaction from fishing interests to the plans would be “muted.”

“I personally give an iron-clad guarantee the response will not be muted,” Senator Boswell said.

“This fight will be carried into every coastal seat in the country with a determination and a vigour that will unseat any Labor member within coo-ee of the coast, and deny Labor any chance of winning many more.

“The government is planning to use fishermen as a sop to the Greens, who are demanding that vast areas of Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone be locked up.

“The Labor government in South Australia is already engaging in complementary zoning, ahead of the federal announcement, in ways that suggests what’s coming will play to the greens.

“There was also a hint in the story that there will be very strong protection for the Coral Sea, which is again in line with formal demands of the Greens.

“A tough anti-fishing regime in the South-West, followed by big constraints in the Coral Sea, will be the political obituary for any Labor politician in any coastal seat in every state and territory.”

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