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Joint Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation
Senator Hon. Ian Macdonald
27 August 2004
The Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, and the Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation, Senator Ian Macdonald, today announced changes to the Structural Adjustment Package for people and businesses affected by the rezoning of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
"The Australian Government has responded quickly to feedback it has received from the fishing industry and is ensuring that people affected by the rezoning will be treated fairly and equitably under the package," Senator Campbell said.
"We are confident the decisions we are announcing today meet those concerns."
He said the key changes were:
"These changes respond to issues raised with me by Government Members and Senators, Queensland Seafood Industry Association and individual business operators on my recent visit to Queensland," Senator Campbell said.
"The guidelines for the package will be sent directly to fishermen and will also be available on the website of the Queensland Rural Adjustment Authority, which is administering the structural adjustment package for the Australian Government.
"I have had no response to my invitation to the Queensland Government to provide assistance to those impacted by its decision to establish the Great Barrier Reef Coastal Marine Park.
"Many will be seriously affected by Queensland's proposed closures and I again call on the Queensland Government to treat these people fairly."
"The industry has called for long-term security for commercial fishermen who remain in the industry once the structural adjustment process has been completed.
"This is an issue for both the Australian and Queensland Governments because we both have legislative responsibilities that have the potential to affect the investment climate in the fishing industry within the marine park.
"The Australian Government is already implementing a system of secure and tradable access entitlements in Commonwealth fisheries that enable the industry to adjust autonomously in response to environmental and market forces.
"I call on my Queensland Government counterparts to explore how the same level of security can be achieved in Queensland fisheries."
Senator Campbell said he was concerned by reports that the banks were withdrawing financial support from fishermen because of the uncertainty flowing from the rezoning.
"I am writing to the Australian Bankers' Association to ensure major financial institutions understand the changes that have taken place and the measures the Australian Government has put in place to help restructure and secure the future of the industry as a sustainable and important economic activity in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park," he said.
"Along with the Structural Adjustment Package I am also looking to ensure better communication with communities on Marine Park issues. Local Marine Advisory Committees will be given a higher profile and dedicated liaison officers will work on 'hot spot' issues as they arise.
"We will expand the Local Marine Advisory Committee Network to include the Bundaberg region and we will set up other LMACs, in consultation with local committees, where the need arises.
"We will also expand membership of the Great Barrier Reef Consultative Committee to include five representatives from the Local Marine Area Committees."