Mr VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart) (11:01): I am glad to have the opportunity to say a few words on this bill. Marine parks, as we all know, are very important; in fact, they were a Liberal initiative in the 1990s. The then Liberal government went to the 2002 election with a plan, which would have had marine parks set up, in place and running by 2006. It is a shame that we are still working on this and that we are still trying to put it to bed, but I do have to say that, as a general rule, I am in favour and supportive of marine parks.

I have a view that, really, the outer boundaries are a little irrelevant. I would not mind if the whole coastline was a marine park; it would not make any difference to me at all. What I think is very important, though, are the zones. They are what really count, because they tell you where certain activities can be undertaken and where they cannot.

From a parochial perspective, the electorate of Stuart has a little over 100 kilometres of coastline in the Upper Spencer Gulf. It is a very important area of the state's waters and, certainly, very worthy of looking after, protecting and ensuring that it is here for hundreds—if not thousands—of years in the relatively good condition that it is in at the moment. It is a little unique in the Upper Spencer Gulf and, Madam Speaker, we share that section of coastline in our two neighbouring electorates.

As the minister might know, it is a hypersaline inverse estuary, which does make it a very special place and quite unique with regard to Australian coastal waters all over the place but, in particular, within South Australia. As I said, it is really the zones that make the difference, and there is no doubt that, whether you are a recreational fisher, a professional fisher or an ardent environmentalist—regardless of your take on this and if you have an interest in this—it is the zones that make the most difference.

The fishing industry has said to me clearly that it is very concerned about the fact that displaced effort regulations are not in place and are not going to be set up before the zones are identified. They have a very strong view, and I support them in this, that the way their displaced effort would be dealt with—the way they would receive potential compensation for their effort—is very important, and that should be established before the zones are set up. I think that is a very important thing to note.

I also point out that, as I understand it, the coastal waters around Adelaide are not part of the marine parks but that all the coastal waters around Port Augusta (which is the largest population centre in my electorate and, certainly, an important coastal Upper Spencer Gulf location) will be included in marine parks. That can cut both ways. I am not trying to be difficult on this issue but, certainly, there is nothing that is so special about the waters around Port Augusta that it should not be protected.

We have very clean water around Port Augusta. We have two resident pods of dolphins who live in the waters very close to Port Augusta. We now have regular visits by whales to the Upper Spencer Gulf—they come right up to the town of Port Augusta. All that needs to be protected, encouraged and supported. However, I am concerned that having the area around Port Augusta as part of the declared marine park could restrict development. Development is vital for the whole state but certainly for regional areas.

I am concerned about the possibility that we now have more rules, regulations and impediments to development. We have two cruise operators operating in Port Augusta and they work very well with each other; one goes south from the town on its regular route and one goes north from the town. I have participated in both those cruises. The southern cruise has more of a hospitality focus and the cruise that heads north has a more environmental focus in regard to the information and services provided.

They are both tremendous examples of business and regional development and they support not only the Port Augusta area but also the outback, Flinders Ranges and the Mid North through tourism. I talked to cruise customers on one of those cruises the other day and two or three had come from Yankalilla—southern Adelaide, I think it was—purely to take this cruise. So, clearly, the environment and its protection is important, but I would hate to find a situation where another cruise operator, or even the existing cruise operators, are put under pressure in regard to the work they do and the important development and encouragement that they give to businesses throughout the Upper Spencer Gulf and, certainly, in Port Augusta.

Aquaculture is important in our area and, again, that cuts both ways. The people in aquaculture, perhaps more than anyone, need clean water, a clean environment, and the right flows and micro-organisms in the water, so they will not do anything to damage the environment. However, I would be very concerned and upset if these new regulations were to prevent that sort of development, which is very important for the economies of the Upper Spencer Gulf.

I am also concerned about the possibility of overzealous environmental protection. I think that is probably a good way to put it. Everyone in this room and the responsible constituents in Stuart want the environment and the special waters of the Upper Spencer Gulf to be protected, but not at all costs. There are a lot of activities in Whyalla, Port Augusta and Port Pirie that rely on using the water and using the local area for business and, in two of those three cities, for heavy industry.

The Upper Spencer Gulf needs that heavy industry, absolutely must have that heavy industry. We do not want to wreck the environment to sustain it, but I do not want anything to get in the way of maintaining and growing the jobs that those industries support in the Upper Spencer Gulf.

Getting back to the zoning issue, as I understand it, the declaration of the zones and any potential adjustment to them will be done through regulation and will have to come through parliament. I am most focused on those zones, because it is the zoning that will determine what, where, how, and what is in and below the water can be used. That is a very important part of this and I certainly support the professional fishers who have great concerns. I would have to say, minister, they have expressed to me very seriously and genuinely their disappointment with regard to the interactions that they have had with you so far.

The Hon. P. Caica: Me?

Mr VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN: I have to put that on the record with you and your department with regard to having what they consider to be their current interests dealt with fairly. I encourage the minister as strongly as I can to look after the fishermen of the entire gulf—certainly the Upper Spencer Gulf—which is where that information is coming from. Their displaced effort regulations must be put in place before the regulations set the zoning.


No Very

Captcha Image