Marine park block fails
An attempt by Labor and the Greens to disallow controversial new marine park management plans has failed in the Senate.
The Federal Government recently announced plans to redraw Australia’s marine park maps, which opponents say reduces protection for sensitive ecosystems.
Labor announced it would move to disallow the plans immediately after they were announced, but the Greens did not come on board with the Opposition until this week.
The Turnbull government on Tuesday night pulled its proposal to lower the tax rate for big business to 25% and abruptly changed the order of business in the Senate to force consideration of Labor’s disallowance motion on the marine parks.
Knowing that Labor and the Greens did not have the numbers to scuttle the plans, the Federal Government moved to bring on debate about the disallowance motion on Tuesday night – triggering a parliamentary process to disallow its own regulations.
Labor and the Greens together comprise a Senate bloc of 35, meaning they needed another four votes for a successful disallowance.
The Greens’ healthy oceans spokesman Peter Whish-Wilson this week dubbed the government plans “woefully inadequate”.
He said the government’s stated reason for bringing on the disallowance motion to provide “certainty” for commercial fishing and for the oil and gas industry was “absolutely ridiculous”.
“But the dilemma facing the environment movement and communities who have campaigned for decades to get marine protections in place is whether a disallowance might mean no protections at all for the next decade,” he said.
Advice from the parliamentary library is equivocal about the impact of the disallowance.
“It appears possible that there will be greater controls on activities such as commercial fishing in the relevant Commonwealth reserves with the management plans as tabled, when compared to the current management regime for those reserves with no management plans in place,” the officials say.