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November 22, 2010

This year’s Federal and State election campaigns have seen barbs traded between political parties and some independents over a proposed increase in marine parks and the direct threat to recreational and commercial fishing.

The truth has gone missing in both election campaigns and a flyer circulated in East Gippsland last week belongs in the fiction category of our local libraries.

In the recent Federal campaign the Greens supported a policy that would ban fishing in 30% of Australia’s territorial waters.

It is a position that has been strongly opposed by the Federal Coalition and our policy called for an immediate freeze on the marine bioregional planning process and extensive consultation with industry to establish sensible and balanced marine park boundaries and management plans. To maintain a viable commercial fishing sector and provide access to high quality Australian seafood, we can’t keep locking up more fishing grounds on the whim of the Greens.

During the current State election campaign it has again been the Greens proposing policies that will heavily impact on recreational and commercial fishing.

The Greens are supporting a push by the Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA) ‘to protect an additional 20% of Victoria’s marine and coastal areas through the creation of new marine national parks by 2012.’

Again, the Liberals and The Nationals in Coalition stated its opposition to an increase in marine parks by saying that it does not support the VNPA proposal. However, that hasn’t stopped the scaremongering of those involved in the recreational fishing industry and by some candidates.

Sadly, this desperate scare campaign doesn’t point to the real and direct threat to recreational fishers and commercial fisherman across Victoria and the rest of Australia.

The preference deal which has been done between Labor and the Greens could lead to the same problem we are facing in Federal Parliament. The Labor Party is in government but the Greens are pulling the strings – it’s hard to tell whether it’s Prime Minister Bob Gillard or Prime Minister Julia Brown!

Rather than questioning the Coalition’s stance on this issue, the real question that should be asked in the community is which Green policies will Labor accept as part of its preference deal to stay in government at a state and federal level in the future?

Labor, the Greens and independents have formed a Rainbow Coalition at Federal level and it hasn’t delivered policy certainty and good outcomes for Australia.

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