Michelle Lensink

Select Committe on Marine Parks In South Australia

A Speech in regards to the final report of the marine parks select committee.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (16:13): I rise to make some remarks in relation to the final report of the marine parks select committee. From the outset, I would like to endorse probably all of what the chairman has just outlined to the chamber and thank him for his chairmanship of the committee.

As has been outlined, and as is available on the public record, we had an interim report which has already been tabled, and that was principally to document the community response to both the content and the process of the initial draft sanctuary zones that was undertaken by the environment department. I think the general response was outrage on many levels. That matter has been the subject of motions to this house, as well as to our interim report. Things did change in that the then minister for the environment, the Hon. Paul Caica, and the Premier decided to have a so-called reset of the process, and that led to us needing to examine the revised sanctuary zones and management plans. There is still quite a lot of dissatisfaction with that. My view is that that was a political fix that is not particularly well embedded in scientific research, and there is a smaller number of people who will be negatively impacted, and therefore a smaller voice, but those people who will be impacted will be impacted quite severely. That is clearly something that will need to be further examined.

The revised sanctuary zones have been described as negotiated outcomes by the very articulate Dr Gary Morgan as still lines on a map. The government's claim that some 85 per cent of people support the larger sanctuary zones was actually disputed by one of the submissions that was provided in evidence, which highlighted the fact that a number of them came from outside South Australia and were generated by a website, with which we would all be familiar, because we can tell when there is some sort of internet campaign going on as our inboxes get jammed from people who do not live in our state, so we assess those on their merits.

There is still a great deal of satisfaction with the marine park process. It has been disappointing for me, as someone who obviously has a strong interest in the environment, that this issue has damaged the relationship, at least in the medium term, between the department and regional communities. I think their trust has been lost, and it is much harder to retrieve that trust once it has gone than to have acted at the outset in good faith.

I think this program has been a massive mistake on the part of the government. They really let certain agendas go too far and have had to retrieve it, so I do not have a lot of confidence in some of the zoning, and it will clearly need to be revisited at some point. I thank all the witnesses who have put in a lot of time and effort to make sure their views were heard, along with those of their communities. There have been some real champions on this front, people who have done very detailed submissions and have ensured that the information has been communicated back to their communities, and for those people I think we should be extremely grateful. With those words, I endorse the final report to the house and look forward to further community feedback.

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