The Australian Greens have called for an end to the scaremongering around the Government's marine plans, saying more attention needs to be paid to the real elephant in the room - the free ride given to the oil and gas industry.
"Minister Burke has stated that less than 1 per cent of GVP will be lost to the fishing industry as a result of the marine plans recently announced," Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens marine spokesperson said today.
"This process is the start of a move towards more secure and sustainable industries that are capable of supporting their communities in the long term.
"Marine bioregional planning is a vital tool for managing our oceans, and we know that marine sanctuaries play a crucial role in protecting fish stocks for the future and ensuring that some of our important marine biodiversity is protected.
"The Greens are supportive of measures to financially support commercial fishers affected by these changes, but this process is not helped by scaremongering and wild claims of $1 billion in lost business.
"We expect the fisheries adjustment package to be negotiated in good faith, with reference to expert advice rather than rent-seeking."
Senator Penny Wright, Greens Senator for South Australia, told the Senate today that conservationists and the fishing industry ultimately share a common objective, namely healthy and resilient marine ecosystems that support sustainable marine industries and thriving regional communities.
"The Opposition's scare campaign drives unnecessary wedges between like-minded community members who ultimately want the same thing," said Senator Wright.
"Not only do marine sanctuaries play a vital role in protecting fish stocks for the future by protecting critical feeding and breeding areas, they also insure the fishing industry against the increasing threat posed by rampant oil and gas exploration and production.
"The expansion of oil and gas activities to the west of Kangaroo Island is opposed by conservationists and fishers alike. We should get away from the scaremongering and focus on the real elephant in the room and that is the free ride that has been given to oil and gas during this process."