Monday, 1 December 2014
That the Senate—
(i) the report of the expert panel on a declared commercial fishing activity, Final (Small Pelagic Fishery) Declaration 2012, has been released,
(ii) the report found a super trawler would negatively impact on protected species such as seals, dolphins and sea birds, and
(iii) the statement by the Prime Minister (Mr Abbott) on 4 March 2014 that 'the super trawler is banned from Australian waters…it was banned with the support of members on this side of the House. It was banned; it will stay banned'; and
(b) calls on the Government to introduce legislation banning super trawlers from Australian waters.
The coalition is taking a mature and measured approach to this issue, unlike Labor and the Australian Greens, who bungled the issue when they were in government. The coalition is considering closely the findings of the first independent report. We would also like to make it clear that the super trawler is still banned under the second declaration until April 2015. Seafish Tasmania have also publicly ruled out bringing back the super trawler. With this motion the Greens are calling on government to legislate for something before all the issues have been properly considered. By contrast the coalition takes a balanced view of these matters. The coalition listens to local communities, as well as reviewing the relevant science. The coalition has said it would develop a permanent solution to this issue, and that is exactly what the government intends to do.
We have moved this motion because we have had a long-standing amendment to the private senator's bill to ban super trawlers with a freezing capacity of over 2,000 tonnes. The Greens and many Australians right across this country—in the environment movement, in the recreational fishing industry and even in the commercial fishing industry—do not want to see large industrial floating factories in this country. They have brokered the ocean everywhere they have been around the world and now they are trying to get into Australia.
Recently, a scientific panel of independent experts found that there were significant risks even with mitigation measures in place for this type of fishing. We believe that we are taking a mature, rational and sensible approach. We have consistently been accused of being anti-science by Senator Colbeck, who incidentally has been out spruiking super trawlers at community forums—including inviting the media along to these meetings. Seafish has not publicly ruled out bringing back a super trawler. We are at risk of seeing these boats come back and we need to put in place a legislative ban, with the onus being on any new operator to overturn that ban on evidence.