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Protecting the Marine Environment

Written by Lee Johnson

11 October, 2011

Today was a big day with lots of meetings planned for the day. Our first day at Parliament House.Parliament House, Canberra

After arriving and going through security not different to an airport and getting our official unrestricted access passes – we headed up for brekkie and then up to our first meeting of the day, Julie Bishop. To give you all some background – this week is a HUGE week in politics in Canberra. With Parliament sitting this week and 2 massive issues on the agenda – Carbon Tax and Boat People, we were very lucky to have been able to meet with anyone of any importance. The best part is that we have managed to speak to some very important ministers and had some very positive responses and feedback.

Julie Bishop – (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) Our first presentation as a group. The meeting went very well. Whilst under the pump to get through the meeting as quickly as possible due to a vote in the Senate which was about to occur, we went through our collective agendas. The dive industry submission for marine sanctuaries was well received and Julie thanked us for keeping her informed of our progress.

The next meeting was with Laurence Coleman, advisor to Stephen Smith (Minister of Defence),

This meeting went exceptionally well with all of our points going over and Laurence (a Perth resident) agreeing with our concepts and ideas. The proposal for an A Class style marine reserve for the diving industry north of Hillarys was presented and was well received.

The decision on the marine park proposal will be decided within just 4 to 5 weeks. I will post a copy of the proposed marine parks tomorrow.

Our next meeting was with Tony Burke – Minister for the Environment. Once again a fairly rushed meeting but with the offer of a later meeting with one of his advisors to take our proposals down was an offer we were more than happy to accept.

The second round was great with plenty of time to go over all of our ideas and proposals as well as discussing the effects of any or all of these proposals which may or may not have an impact on the electorate. The more I work with the professional team we have over here lobbying for support, the more I am realising that even though we all represent different areas and have our own areas of expertise and agendas, every one of us is here to save our marine environment and create Sanctuaries. Even the most unlikely allies in fishing groups are pushing for a united blanket approach to marine parks and Sanctuaries. It’s great to be associated with these guys. It really is an honour to be here with them.

The meeting ended on a positive note and it will remain to be seen how effective our presentations for today were. We are gaining valuable support and the meetings continue tomorrow.

I will keep you posted.

Lee Johnson returns from Parliament House

Written by Lee Johnson

15 October 2011

After a grueling week at Parliament house in Canberra, Lee has returned with a very positive outlook on the newly proposed Marine Parks and Sanctuaries for the WA South West. There were meetings at the top level – (Well almost – Julia was busy pushing through her new Carbon Tax). “We were lucky enough to secure meetings with some key decision makers and some of the people who put together the original draft plan” Lee said. “We managed to put our point across that the general public in WA are not at all opposed to Marine Sanctuaries, in fact – most people supported the issue.” This is a stark contrast to the east coast where the marine sanctuaries are being heavily fought against by the local communities. “I put it down to a couple of things – a lack of understanding of the proposals, and a really bad explanation as to what the sanctuaries are all about.”

The South West proposal is the first in a series of run out models across the country and was one of the current Governments election promises. Whilst as a whole

The meetings covered all areas from Tourism to Commercial Fishing License buy backs. There is one thing for sure – The sanctuaries are going to happen and with luck and hopefully the work we put in – they will include some great areas for conservation and allow fish to restock in areas closer to the shore than we have ever had before near Perth.

The final proposal, which was out for public comment for 3 months recently brought 42000 submissions in favour and only 200 against the proposal.

“With areas put aside like this and listed as A Class Marine Reserves we can be assured that the future of the marine species that live within these areas or used to live in these areas will be guaranteed and they can return, rebuild and restock without the interference of both recreational and commercial fishing. 5 and 10 years from now – we will have some of the best shore diving in the country.”

The final decision will be going to parliament sometime before the end of the year. We will keep you posted. If you are interested in the overall meetings and what is proposed, please Contact Us or call into the store.

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