I seek leave to make a brief explanation before directing a question to the Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation on the subject of Marine Park 14.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Over the past five years, tonnes of dead seagrass has been washing up on the Bald Hill Beach in the state's Mid North, and experts believe the cause is the result of both flows from discharges from the Bolivar Wastewater Treatment Plant as well as some impacts from natural accumulation. Local fishermen have been contacting authorities about the issue. However, no action has been taken. The beach forms part of Marine Park 14. My questions to the minister are:
1.Has anyone from DEWNR visited the Bald Hill Beach to investigate the seagrass death?
2.What action will be taken to address this problem?
3.If the government is not willing to address this particular issue that is affecting our coastal environment, what benefit will the marine park provide when the final management plans are brought into place?
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation) (14:30): I thank the honourable member for her question, although I must admit it seems to be loaded with a little bit of opinion. I do not know who these experts are but I note that the honourable member herself says that the build-up of dead seagrass is part of the natural accumulation on beaches. That has always been so and always will be so.
I do not know what problem the honourable member alludes to. Of course, she does not give any details about that. If the honourable member likes, I will ask my department about the natural accumulation of seagrass and what causes it. I do understand it is a seasonal occurrence and it happens at this time of year, every year, but, if there is something extra-special happening, I will inquire and get back to her by taking this question on notice.
In reply to the Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (23 July 2013).
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation):
As the Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation I have received this advice:
1. Officers from the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources have visited the beach.
2. It is not considered that there is a problem. Seagrass normally shed their leaves in winter and as Bald Hall Beach is surrounded by seagrass meadows it is not surprising that the wrack wash ashore on this beach. The deposit of seagrass wrack on beaches is a natural process. Prevailing wind and water movements will influence where wrack comes ashore.
3. The establishment of 19 marine parks by the state government is one of the most significant and important conservation program ever undertaken in this state. As there is no problem associated with seagrass accumulation on Bald Hill Beach, there is no issue for the marine park management plans to address in this case.