ROBERT BORSAK SPEAKS FOR SPEAROS & FISHOS
Fishers - especially spearfishers need to fight for their sport.
Here's Robert Borsak MLC's speech to the Upper House
The Hon. ROBERT BORSAK [6.05 p.m.]: Tonight I will speak about the need for fishers, particularly spear fishers, to become politically active and proactive in defending their activities. Last week I spoke at a conference of spear fishers in Brisbane to outline what the Shooters Party—now the Shooters and Fishers Party—has achieved because shooters are forced by various governments to become politically active. Political representation is fundamental to successful continuation and development of all outdoor sporting activities. Hunters, whether underwater or on the ground, who want to harvest their own food and participate in healthy outdoor activities are being stymied by big government bureaucracies driven by green, animal rights agendas and a supposed need to exclude people from public land and waters on the spurious grounds that they need protecting from the very conservation hunters and fishers who are best placed to help conserve these areas.
The Greens rode this wave of enthusiasm, painting themselves as protectors of the environment, when they are in fact social and economic political engineers. We had to become involved in politics as who we are or eventually we would have become extinct. Over the past 16 years the political activities of the Shooters Party—now the Shooters and Fishers Party—has focussed on meeting the requirements of our growing constituency and seeking to promote, educate and mainstream our activities, particularly in New South Wales. It is important for interest groups to know that, unless you are in the Parliament represented by your own members, all sides of the existing major political parties will only ever give you lip-service or, in the case of the Labor-Green coalition, actively oppose you and your activities.
The Shooters and Fishers Party has a proud record in this place. We have introduced or had passed nearly 20 bills in the upper House. Without this direct action, nothing would have been achieved. Even these achievements in the greater scheme of things have been small in themselves, but equally important and vital to our long-term development as politically active shooters and fishers. The Greens and Labor agenda, particularly in New South Wales, has been to progressively shut down access to public land for almost all activities, whether timber harvesting, grazing, hunting or, indeed, anything that involves consumption of a resource or the taking of game.
In New South Wales millions of hectares of public land was alienated and locked up under these programs during 16 years of the Labor-Green alliance. This "successful" Green agenda has been followed on the oceans off coastal New South Wales, with the establishment of six marine lockout areas called marine parks. This was to be followed up by the establishment of another three marine parks, which would have effectively locked up coastal New South Wales from the Victorian border to the Queensland border to any and all productive recreational fishing.
We campaigned actively in 2007 and exposed the New South Wales Labor Government's plans, effectively scuttling The Greens' efforts. We also caused the complete failure of the Torn Blue Fringe Report that was to have provided the backdrop for the creation of the greater Sydney Marine Park. We are well aware of the crazy restrictions placed on spear fishers. There is no estuary diving and no off-beach entry with spear guns—they may frighten some poor topless bather.
Our policy is access for all, and that includes marine parks. Recently the O'Farrell Government has been denying us access to national parks for feral animal control. Our agenda also includes sustainable bag limit controlled access for fishers in marine parks and their sanctuary zones. Following similar lines as the Game Council New South Wales, we have given notice of a bill to set up a recreational fishing authority in New South Wales as a self-governing manager of recreational fishing resources for the benefit of fish conservation and recreational fishers. Locked up marine parks are of no benefit to anyone. They are a public resource that should be used for conservation, not just protection.
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