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Sunday, 14 July 2013

The Big "Australian Greens" con

The Australian Greens just launched their 2013 election, platform, “STANDING UP FOR WHAT MATTERS” this would be funny if it wasn’t so serious.

Just a few months ago federal Greens member Adam Bandt, voted against the collations disallowance motion on the management plans for or all six marine commonwealth marine parks.
Let’s be completely clear about the management plans for our commonwealth marine network, they have not been preceded by the necessary risk assessment, the risks to these areas have not been identified. What sort of protection can you offer if you don’t understand what the risks to the area even are?

This is what the Greens say in there 2013 election platform.  

“The Australian Greens will defend Australia’s new network of marine protected areas from any attempts by Tony Abbott’s Coalition to roll them back. While supporting new marine parks, Labor in government has continued to release new oil and gas exploration leases over environmentally sensitive areas, including known whale calving grounds in South Australia and areas earmarked for protection off north-west Australia. The Greens will exclude destructive industries from our most precious marine areas and reject new oil and gas exploration permits in marine parks.”

“the Greens will exclude destructive industries from our most precious marine areas” really but they are not concerned that these same destructive activities are allowed to continue under our commonwealth marine network management plans! The very plans Adam Bandt not only voted for, but he also voted against the disallowance motion that would have given us the opportunity to identify and address these destructive activities within our 6 marine bioregion networks.

The commonwealth marine park management plans had a 30 day submission period, 30 days for 6 unique marine bio regions, that’s one bio region submission every 5 days, for a month. Surely our marine environment deserves better than that. It’s now very obvious that this was insufficient time even for minister Burke and our government to draw up meaningful management plans that actually did something to address the threats.  

I also ask the Australian Greens and Adam Bandt what harm would it have done to allow a give these management plans the appropriate time to be developed, apart from the obvious political one for the Labor government and the Greens? 

All our marine parks have transition management plans in place, from the very day they are declared. The South-East commonwealth marine networks has had transition management plans since they were declared in 2007.

Under the EPBC Act, any activity in a marine reserve requires approval from the Director of National Parks during the period between proclamation of the reserves and the implementation of a management plan. This applies to existing commercial activities including those that involve the taking of native species (fishing). The approval from the Director of National Parks is issued under section 359B of the EPBC Act. Approval can be given to both individuals and to classes of persons, and can be issued with or without conditions on the approved activity.

More from the Greens con


The Great Barrier Reef is a World Heritage icon and a national treasure. But it’s under threat like never before:
50% of its coral cover has disappeared in the past 27 years and it is now threatened by climate change, pollution and proposals for new and expanded coal and gas ports, requiring mass dredging to accommodate large ships.

The World Heritage Committee says Australia has just one year to turn this trajectory around or it will put the reef on the international list of shame — the World Heritage in Danger list.

The Greens have a plan to save the reef:
• no new coal ports in pristine Great Barrier Reef areas, and no damaging port expansions: the Reef is not a coal and gas highway
 • no new permits for dredging or offshore dumping of that sediment in our World Heritage reef waters
• increase financial support for farmers to adopt sustainable practices to reduce run-off into the reef

Are the Greens saying that the Great Barrier Reef marine parks has failed to protect this area?

“the Reef is not a coal and gas highway” really, but its ok for our new marine parks is it? With an enormous amount of global evidence on the detrimental effects on marine mammals from ship traffic, not just in the form of accidents, but there is overwhelming evidence on the devastating effects of noise pollution and ship sonar on the health and recovery of some critically endangered marine mammal species.

Almost every single whale conservation group is now advocating that the single biggest threat to critically endangered whale species
recovery, is shipping, and  that the best solution is to keep shipping away from known whale aggregation, breeding, spawning sites, as well as their migration paths.

Even Australia’s number one marine park advocating group the Protect Our Coral Sea group, claims that the Coral Sea is one of the most important migration corridors for whales. That the Coral Sea is home to 28 different species of whales and dolphins, 26 of which are on the IUCN red list of threatened species.

Yet the Australian Greens accepted and voted for management plans not only in the Coral Sea bioregion but all 6 bio regions that fail to even identify these threats to whales and dolphins, let alone adopt the global consensus, many critical whale areas around the world have now done something to address the impact of shipping on whales, but not in Australia’s commonwealth marine parks.

With more than 4000 ships operated in within the Coral Sea. The abundance of coral reefs hinders shipping traffic, and about 50–60 accidents per year were reported between 1990 and 2007 in the GBR alone, with over 85 accidents during 2004.

A government web site says” It is recognised that shipping has the potential to adversely impact on the environmental, economic and socio-cultural values of the region. The greatest threats are of a major oil or chemical spill following an incident or introduction of marine pests. Pollution from operational discharges and direct damage from collisions or groundings can also impact the marine environmental”
But what do our commonwealth marine park management plans do about this known threat, absolutely nothing.

If you have a look at the submission on our marine parks you will find very few from oil and gas companies in fact the Coral Sea submission contains not one from any oil and gas company, which to me is astounding, a cynical person would perhaps say that some deals were done well before this process even started.

Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said many of the reserves off Australia's north-west coast seemed to skirt around oil and gas exploration areas.

"The industry seems to have had a significant impact on determining where reserves will be," she said.

It’s now becoming very evident that the entire marine park process was nothing more than an anti-fishing campaign, the Government says most of the reserves are far offshore, and that very few recreational anglers will be affected, and it appears most of Australia’s environmental groups agree with the government.

So maybe the Greens can explain how we can call something protected when we are only locking out anglers who apparently don’t go to these areas, while at the very same time allowing the major threats to these areas to continue unhindered, what sort of protection is this?

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