Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Coalition's Policy on Marine Protected Areas

I rang the Liberal Party to protest about Tony Abbott's new policy to curb the declaration of marine sanctuaries. I was referred to the policy, which then made interesting reading.
It's disingenuously name a plan for "real action on marine protected areas", when it is a plan for procrastination aka "consultation". It's a plan to create another layer of bureaucracy, the Bioregional Advisory Panels, to slow the process of protecting our seas, to give the appearance of something being done while industry and recreational fishers, kill the breeding stocks of the fish that they catch. It's very much a bit by bit approach: the plan is to address but one Bioregion at a time.
The second point in the policy is to "Provide a fair and balanced displaced effort policy". What nutty policy wonk came up with that phrasing! What's "displaced effort"? Well its something to do with a displacement policy. "The displaced effort policy will be informed by socio-economic modelling of the reach of the fishing sector into the community." What does that mean? That's all some dickhead is offering as an explanation of this this piece of jargon.
Interestingly, the Coalition admits in the policy that Labor's scientific assessment process was rigorous.
The policy is poorly worded but the intent is clear. It is about procrastination and delay in the first place and then when forced to make a decision, to make a decision that permits this generation of fishers and tourist operators to fish out the existing stocks at the expense of future generations. It's about not having no-take zones; it's about not building up nurseries or fish stocks; in case any business operator or recreational fisher suffers a short-term disadvantage.
In any other sector of the economy, if you get stung by change, its part of the risk of business. If a multinational closes a mining town contrary to everything they've just been saying, the small businessman takes it on the nose; but the Liberals view of the environment is that nobody in this generation should be economically disadvantage in any way to protect our future. The view enshrines the sacred right to exploit. It's about pandering to industries who resist conservation of the resources on which they depend.
This is a reversal of previous Liberal policy and marks the continued swing to the far environmental right by Liberals under Tony Abbott, and a willingness to sacrifice the long term to indulge short-term sectional interests. "Let's dig it up, cut it down or stick it on a hook"

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