The marine park Esperance rejects

Esperance respondents to a survey conducted by Federal Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson MP have overwhelmingly rejected a 1000-kilometre-long south coast marine park planned by Labor and its band of eco-bureaucrats.

Acting upon community dismay at the more than 35 long-winded consultation documents published by WA’s Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Mr Wilson launched his 30‑second ‘yes or no’ survey on May 3.

“The response has been overwhelming, with 3300-plus people participating so far,” Mr Wilson said.

“Of those engaged constituents, 1548 are from Esperance and 1485 of those say they don’t want the marine park in its current form, if at all.

“The number of Esperance respondents opposing the park correlates well to the more than 1000 people who last month took to the streets to protest Labor’s incursion into the south coast’s way of life.”

In contrast to Mr Wilson’s short survey, DBCA has swamped the public with 520 pages of documentation.

“That’s too much information, and reflects the State’s technocratic approach,” Mr Wilson said.

“The first bit of advice the DBCA website gives potential respondents is that their submissions should be “clear and concise”.

“In leading the public up the garden path, the department has failed to heed its own counsel.”

Last week, WA Labor’s Environment Minister Reece Whitby – who is driving the marine park process – claimed that Mr Wilson’s survey was a “political stunt that could confuse the process”.

“The thousands of people who have completed my survey belie Mr Whitby’s armchair critique of my survey,” Mr Wilson said.

“While we’re talking political manipulation, why is it that his draft plan says fishing may, in some areas, be permitted within 200 metres of the high-water mark, but only after public comments are collected?

“Why, unless you were making an ambit claim and playing a game of political brinksmanship, would you not include that basic concession as a firm commitment in the draft plan?”

Mr Wilson said it was high time that Labor’s Fisheries Minister Don Punch, who has been missing in action on the marine park debate, stood up to Mr Whitby.

“Late last year it was reported that Mr Punch’s department pulled no punches in slamming DBCA’s marine park,” Mr Wilson said.

“The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development accused DBCA of putting south coast livelihoods at risk.

“DPIRD went into bat for food security, local livelihoods and people’s way of life; Mr Punch must do the same.”

Mr Wilson said the WA Labor Government should respect the views of the Esperance community and consult in a meaningful way, or abandon its marine park altogether. 

His survey is open until 5pm on Monday, May 27. Soon after, final results will be released for community consideration.

“I encourage recreational and commercial fishers alike, and anybody concerned about the knock-on effects of this marine park to the south coast economy to have their say so I can take their views to Federal Parliament and hopefully shame Labor into treating the community and industry seriously,” he said.

Members of the public can complete Mr Wilson’s survey at https://d5ahu1ahh97.typeform.com/marinepark

  

Media contact: Chris Thomson, 0467 710 180; [email protected]

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