I seek leave to make a brief explanation before directing a question to the Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation on marine parks compliance.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: The marine parks website has a page entitled 'Maps and coordinates', on which it states:
Due to the limitations with GPS technology, this information should be used as a guide only and should not be relied on for the purposes of legislative compliance or for navigational purposes. Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information displayed, the department, its agents, officers and employees make no representations, either express or implied, that the information displayed is accurate or fit for any purpose, and expressly disclaims all liability for loss or damage arising from reliance upon on the information displayed.
My questions to the minister are:
1.If the information his own department is supplying cannot be relied on, what should people who are concerned about not straying into sanctuary zones rely on?
2.How do they determine if they are not in a sanctuary zone?
3.Will DEWNR itself rely on its own information to prosecute fishing offences allegedly taking place in a sanctuary zone?
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation) ( 14:24 ): I thank the honourable member for her most important question and for giving me an opportunity again to talk about why marine parks are so valuable to our state, our regions and our economy. Management plans for South Australian marine parks were finalised on 29 November 2012. Zoning regulations commenced on 29 March 2013, giving effect to the zoning, including the final management plans. These regulations describe the various restrictions that apply in each zone type, including restrictions on development, waste discharge, aquaculture, dredging, trawling and fishing. Of course, as we know, the restrictions on fishing started on 1 October 2014.
The government understands that the majority of people accessing marine parks are commercial and recreation fishers and that change will take some time. The delay in implementing the fishing restrictions gave people the opportunity to modify their existing practices. To support the change process we developed an education program to help the public understand why the marine parks are necessary and exactly what changes are required.
Zoning maps are available in hard copy from the natural resource centres or online at the marine parks website at www.marineparks.sa.gov.au. Maps are also available for smartphone users by downloading the free MyParx app. Zoning maps also include a statement that all other laws of the state continue to apply. The government is committed to developing and implementing a compliance strategy for marine parks: that it is cost efficient; it is focused on conservation priorities, particularly sanctuary zones; complements existing compliance efforts; maximises voluntary compliance; and includes measures to address serious or repeat noncompliance.
It is expected that the education programs will help ensure that the public will do the right thing and that the zones will be largely self-regulating. In addition to this, in most cases warnings and expiations (set at $315, I am advised) will be used to address noncompliance with the zoning. Recreational fishers caught fishing with a handline or rod and line in the sanctuary zone are entitled to a warning before they can be fined or prosecuted. This is specifically provided for in the Marine Parks Act 2007 at section 17, I am advised. Of course, serious or repeated noncompliance is taken very seriously and carries a maximum penalty of $100,000 or imprisonment for two years.
Compliance in marine parks will be led by officers from the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. To ensure costs are not borne in the longer term by the commercial fishing industry, on-water services and targeted operations, as required, may also be provided by the Department of Primary Industries and Regions South Australia through an interagency service agreement.
Stewardship activities that will increase community ownership and voluntary compliance planned over the next three financial years include community education at key events and the provision of maps and educational materials, incorporation of marine park zones and alerts into the free MyParx smart phone app, and appropriate signage installed at priority locations.
The South Australian government is committed to protecting South Australia's unique marine environment. This government has committed to providing an extra $1 million a year to ensure South Australia's network of 19 marine parks is effectively managed, putting our annual monitoring budget at $2.25 million per annum. This extra funding includes a doubling of the funding currently set aside for marine park monitoring (that was $750,000) and doubling of the funding for habitat surveys and mapping in sanctuary zones to $100,000 a year, as well as more money to collect and process data.
The $1 million funding boost also includes new money to develop education materials to promote the results of monitoring and targeted compliance activities at key monitoring locations. In addition, a further a $3.2 million will be provided over the next three years to encourage community use of marine parks and to support recreational fishing in and around our marine parks. This funding is to be used to:
•provide regional support grants to community groups and local councils to improve infrastructure around marine parks, for items such as toilets, camping areas and fish stations;
•work with the peak recreational fishing organisation in South Australia, RecFish SA, to establish an artificial reef; and
•open access and provide minor infrastructure for recreational fishing in reservoirs that are offline.
This builds on the government's significant investment of approximately $42 million over the past 10 or more years in setting up a marine parks system that all South Australians can be proud of. As I said, we gave fishers plenty of time to modify their practices, if needed. It has also provided time for the government to work on a monitoring program that will help to measure the effectiveness of the marine parks and management plans over time.
I can only say that our experience interstate and overseas has shown the importance of an effective marine park monitoring program. Marine park monitoring, for the most part, will be done by my agencies. We will develop partnerships over time with other interested parties, including other agencies, the community and industry to make sure that we have the most efficient and effective use of resources.
I am advised that in August of 2012 we hosted a national marine protected area monitoring workshop to share knowledge and experience and find common approaches among the states and the commonwealth in marine protected area monitoring, evaluation and reporting. We took advice from both the Marine Parks Council of South Australia and the marine parks scientific working group on the design and implementation of the marine parks monitoring program. All I can say is that we want to make sure that our marine environment is protected into the future; clearly the Liberals have no such interest.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK ( 14:29 ): Supplementary question. What is the legal status of the department's GPS data that it has put out for fishers?
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation) ( 14:29 ): I will have to get some legal advice to satisfy the honourable member.
The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Leader of the Opposition) ( 14:30 ): The minister made a reference to compliance and an inter-agency agreement between PIRSA and DEWNR. Could he explain the details of the inter-agency agreement, please?
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 Hon. Mr Ridgway. The Leader of the Opposition, at least, was listening to my answer. The person who asked me the question certainly wasn't.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK ( 14:31 ): Further supplementary. Will the minister confirm whether it is true that DEWNR approached PIRSA with an amount of funding and PIRSA told them to get nicked?
The PRESIDENT: I don't know if you want to use that language. Minister, do you want to answer that?
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation) ( 14:31 ): I don't think so.
The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Leader of the Opposition) ( 14:31 ): In relation to the cost of compliance, when the professional sector loses a percentage of their acreage, will the cost of compliance imposed on the professional sector be reflected by the amount of sea floor that they have lost? For example, if they have lost 6 per cent of their area, are they still going to take 6 per cent less of the cost of compliance?
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation) ( 14:31 ): Mr President, the honourable member doesn't really understand fisheries. He doesn't understand marine parks, that is for sure. He doesn't understand the processes that we were involved in buying out effort. That means the government paid people to exit the industry—and, of course, we have bought out all the effort that we were after. In fact, as I have said in this place previously, more people came to us wanting to buy them out than we were prepared to do so. More people—
The Hon. J.M.A. Lensink: Yes, people that actually don't use their licences in marine parks, that's what you bought.
The PRESIDENT: Hon. Ms Lensink, let him finish the answer.
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: More people wanted us to be part of that voluntary buyback process. So the government has taken that into consideration, absolutely, and we have done that through our voluntary buyback process.