Opposition calls for transparency on marine park compensation processes

Shadow Fisheries Minister, Colin de Grussa has again raised concerns about impacts to the commercial fishing industry caused by the continued poor implementation of marine parks by the WA Labor Government.

In response to questions raised in Parliament by Mr de Grussa, Environment Minister, Reece Whitby admitted the State Government had yet to complete the statutory processes required to formally classify the marine parks within the Buccaneer Archipelago.

This is despite announcing the marine parks back in August 2022.

“This has left the commercial fishers or charter operators operating within any of the proposed sanctuary or exclusion zones inside the parks in limbo” Mr de Grussa said.

Mr de Grussa said given the process to establish the marine parks started back in 2017, one would have expected the government to place some urgency on providing clarity and certainty for the affected businesses and communities.

“Sadly, this whole process has disturbing similarities to the disgraceful way in which commercial operators were treated following the establishment of the Ngari Capes Marine Park, where many are still yet awaiting compensation more than 10 years after losing their fishing grounds” Mr de Grussa said.

“It is clear the WA Labor Government is far more focussed on appeasing environmental lobbyists than placing any urgency on compensating commercial and charter fishing operators.”

Mr de Grussa said it is no wonder regional communities along the south coast are so concerned about the current proposal to lock away over 1,000 kilometers of coastline within the South Coast Marine Park.

The WA Labor Government has consistently refused to answer questions on how they will adequately compensate commercial fishing operators or small businesses that will be impacted by the proposed marine park.

“If recent history is any guide, there is only one certainty in this whole sorry affair, businesses and commercial fishing operators can strap themselves in for a very long and arduous process when it comes to receiving fair compensation for any losses they incur as a consequence of the South Coast Marine Park,” Mr de Grussa said.

“It should not be this way – the State Government has an obligation to provide full transparency on how and when it will assist affected businesses, well ahead of the gazettal of the proposed marine park.”

“Experience with the Ngari Capres and Buccaneer marine parks has demonstrated there is a significant time lag between the adverse financial impact inflicted on businesses and when they actually receive compensation.

“The WA Labor Government needs to step up and provide a commitment that south coast communities will not suffer the same fate.”