Michelle Lensink

Budget Cuts Threaten Marine Park Management Plans

The Rann Labor Government must explain how the 19 new marine park sanctuary zones will be administered after $3 million dollars was slashed from the budget for marine park operating costs.

The last of the 19 preliminary marine park sanctuary zones will be announced today with widespread concern from the commercial fishing industry, regional communities and the State Opposition.

Fishing will be completely banned within the sanctuary zones of the19 parks, designed to protect marine ecosystems and due to be finalised in 2012 and there are concerns that the $3 million funding cut will mean the State Government is not properly resourced to manage the new system.

Shadow Environment Minister, Michelle Lensink said that the significant budget cuts raise questions about the Rann Labor Government’s commitment to marine park reform.

“Not only has the Rann Labor Government slashed $3 million over two years from the operating costs for marine parks but they have also failed to listen to industry and local communities about the effects of the change,” Ms Lensink said.

“The greatest impact of the marine parks will be felt by regional communities, who are constantly subjected to bad decisions made by a city-centric Rann Labor Government.

“South Australia’s fisheries are among the best managed in the world. We have a clean, green industry which feels under threat by this process.

“They deserve a thorough consultation process and a commitment from the government that there will be adequate funding to effectively manage the zones on a significantly reduced budget once they are introduced.

“South Australians will also want to be reassured that they will still be able to eat locally caught fish in the future – or will we be limited to overseas imports which are not managed sustainably?”

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