Environment Minister Tony Burke
Environment Minister Tony Burke

No support to prevent plans for national marine parks

A COALITION move to prevent management plans for a national network of marine parks was unlikely to get crucial crossbench support on Tuesday.

In a motion from Opposition agriculture spokesman John Cobb, the Coalition moved to disallow management plans for marine parks around the nation's oceans.

But during Question Time, Environment Minister Tony Burke moved to discredit Mr Cobb's motion.

Mr Burke said the motion would not only remove protections for new proposed marine parks, including on the Coral Sea, but it also remove protections put in place during the Howard Government.

"The Member for Calare, in a piece of organisational brilliance, hasn't only moved disallowance for the Coral Sea, for the north west zone, for the north zone, for the south west zone and the temperate east," he said.

"He has also moved disallowance for the south east zone, which was the Howard Government zone."

But Mr Cobb denied the accusation, saying the areas of the south east zone were not previously under such strict management plans, and the entire plan was a Gillard Government idea.

He said Mr Burke was "playing recreational fishers off commercial fishers and both off environmental groups".

Mr Cobb said the scientific processes were a "sham", with Mr Burke's own department telling stakeholders there was no science behind the maps.

But Mr Burke said after "three quarters of a million submissions" and five separate consultation periods, the process had worked.

Crossbencher Rob Oakeshott said he could not support the Coalition's motion, as he did not believe it would affect recreational fishers.

Fellow independent Tony Windsor said he also did not support the motion, but said there were still questions about the overall management plans.


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