by Jeni Bone
Speaking from the Brisbane Tinnie & Tackle Show on Friday ahead of his historic win in the Queensland state election on Saturday, freshly minted Qld Premier, Campbell Newman promised a Liberal National Party government would move towards allowing recreational anglers back into marine park green zones where fishing is currently off-limits, including some part of Moreton Bay.
On the eve of the Queensland election, Mr Newman wooed the fishing and boating public.
On the final day of campaigning before the election, LNP leader Campbell Newman told the crowd at the Brisbane Tinnie & Tackle Show an LNP government would be 'fishing-friendly'.
Mr Newman, who won by a landslide, outlined a number of measures he said would be good news for those who enjoyed fishing, but made no mention of the marine park green zones that were a contentious issue at the last election.
His fishing spokesman, Cleveland MP Mark Robinson, said the party would examine whether recreational fishing access rules could be changed in marine park no-take zones, saying he did not think angling enthusiasts were causing significant environmental harm.
Green zones cover about 16% of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and people can be handed on-the-spot fines of $500 if caught dropping a line, crabbing or netting in these areas – measures the government says are needed to conserve marine biodiversity. The restrictions apply to commercial and recreational fishing.
Mr Robinson said the boundaries of green zones in the Moreton Bay Marine Park, the Great Sandy Marine Park and the Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park would remain unchanged under the LNP, but restrictions within them could be altered.
'What we are saying is that we have no plans for any further marine parks and we are going to not change any of the current boundaries, or zoning boundaries within the current three marine parks. There’ll be no changes to the marine parks themselves,' he told the media.
'What we’ve committed to is reviewing the issue of recreational fishing access. We don’t believe it’s currently fair. We are looking at a more fair and more reasonable approach to fishing access.'
Mr Robinson, who was part of bitter opposition to the expansion of green zones in Moreton Bay ahead of the 2009 election, said the LNP would be guided by scientific evidence.
'If we find that there is no significant environmental harm or significant impact on fish sustainability, the question is why would we continue to lock people out of an area if there’s no evidence that they’re causing harm?'