Michelle Lensink

Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary

This speech is a contribution toward the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary bill on behalf of the Liberal Party.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: My contribution to this bill on behalf of Liberal members will be brief. There has been an amount of discussion by members on both sides in the House of Assembly on the matter. The bill establishes a sanctuary in the Port Adelaide River and Barker Inlet, the boundaries of which are set out in schedule 1 and they may be changed only by regulation. The bill also establishes an 11-member advisory board and a fund, which can receive grants, sponsorship, bequests and the like, to support the sanctuary activities. There will be a management plan, which will be proclaimed within a year.

The government has made the claim that there is only one new power in this bill, which is a general duty of care. Many aspects of the bill are already within the Environment Protection Act and the National Parks and Wildlife Act. There is also an increase in the penalties for harming, taking or illegally possessing protected marine mammals, which will increase from $30 000 to $100 000. The Liberal Party does not believe in legislation for legislation's sake. We will not oppose the bill, but we believe it is window-dressing, which will give the government another headline through which it can say that it is assisting various things about which people feel rather emotional. Clearly, anybody who abuses an animal, whether a dolphin or any other sort of animal, is a dysfunctional human being and I am not sure that they will pay much attention to whether or not the penalties have increased. So in some ways increasing the penalties is again window-dressing.

There may be some impact on increasing awareness and obligations to these creatures, which would be a good thing, but by and large the measures in this bill are already covered by existing legislation and therefore are unnecessary and will just provide the government with another headline.

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