Boswell warns about Cairns job losses

Marine reserves could add to Cairns’ 12 per cent unemployment rate says Senator

Boswell warns about Cairns job losses
Boswell warns about Cairns job losses

New marine reserves under development in the Gulf of Carpentaria and the Coral Sea would cause job losses in Cairns, Nationals Senator Ron Boswell said yesterday.

He said the new marine reserves will include no-take areas and could include other constraints on professional and recreational fishing that would boost Cairns’ current 12 per cent unemployment rate.

Half the waters of the Gulf had been shortlisted for consideration in a marine reserve, said Boswell, while the Coral Sea region, covering almost one million square kilometres had also been shortlisted.

"People in Cairns might think the Gulf is a long way away and nothing to do with them, but the fact is, many of the boats that fish our northern waters, whether in the Gulf or out in the Coral Sea, are Cairns-based," he said.

"Fishing jobs have multipliers onshore, from fuel suppliers, to mechanics, to chandlers, to transport companies. Cairns needs more fishing job losses — any job losses — like a hole in the head."

Boswell said the Government needed to announce a clear policy about how it will deal with displaced effort.

"So far we only have an indication from the Government that it has a process for the development of a policy. It doesn’t have a policy, it has a process. We need a policy, and we need it now," he said.

"The government has made it clear that there will be — not may be but will be — no-take zones in the Marine Reserves.

"That means there will be displaced effort but there has been no policy statement from the Government about how it will handle that.

"Fishermen and their families need and deserve reassurance on that issue now."

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