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senate vote 2018-11-14#9

Edited by mackay

on 2019-03-21 16:37:04

Title

  • Committees Environment and Communications References Committee; Reference
  • Committees - Environment and Communications References Committee - Refer matter

Description

  • <p class="speaker">Peter Whish-Wilson</p>
  • <p>I, and on behalf of Senator Hanson-Young, move:</p>
  • <p class="italic">That the following matter be referred to the Environment and Communications References Committee for inquiry and report by 30 March 2019:</p>
  • The majority voted against a [motion](https://www.openaustralia.org.au/senate/?id=2018-11-14.175.2) introduced by Tasmanian Senator [Peter Whish-Wilson](https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/senate/tasmania/peter_whish-wilson) (Greens), which means it failed.
  • ### Motion text
  • > *That the following matter be referred to the [Environment and Communications References Committee](https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Environment_and_Communications) for inquiry and report by 30 March 2019:*
  • >
  • > *The impact of seismic testing on fisheries and the marine environment, with particular reference to:*
  • >
  • >> *(a) the regulation of seismic testing, and the responsibilities of federal and state governments;*
  • >>
  • >> *(b) the consultation process regarding the approval of seismic testing;*
  • >>
  • >> *(c) how potential impacts are taken into account during the consultation process;*
  • >>
  • >> *(d) applications for seismic testing in the Otway Basin; off the coast of Newcastle, New South Wales; and the waters surrounding Kangaroo Island, South Australia;*
  • >>
  • >> *(e) recent scientific findings; and*
  • >>
  • >> *(f) any other related matters.*
  • <p class="italic">The impact of seismic testing on fisheries and the marine environment, with particular reference to:</p>
  • <p class="italic">(a) the regulation of seismic testing, and the responsibilities of federal and state governments;</p>
  • <p class="italic">(b) the consultation process regarding the approval of seismic testing;</p>
  • <p class="italic">(c) how potential impacts are taken into account during the consultation process;</p>
  • <p class="italic">(d) applications for seismic testing in the Otway Basin; off the coast of Newcastle, New South Wales; and the waters surrounding Kangaroo Island, South Australia;</p>
  • <p class="italic">(e) recent scientific findings; and</p>
  • <p class="italic">(f) any other related matters.</p>
  • <p>Of course, senators care about the ocean and marine life and protecting our commercial and recreational fishing industries. Seismic testing&#8212;the use of sonic guns to propel sound waves through the ocean to the depths of the ocean floor&#8212;and the potential impacts that is having on marine life and on the productivity of our fisheries is a very significant issue for a lot of communities around this country. I proposed a Senate references committee that would look at the impacts of seismic testing. In fact, I'll read this out to senators who are interested in this subject. I know they would all want to stand up for their coastal communities and the industries in those communities. I asked:</p>
  • <p class="italic">That the following matter be referred to the Environment and Communications References Committee for inquiry and report by 29 March 2019&#8212;</p>
  • <p>I put this motion to the Senate two days ago and, sadly, not only did it get defeated; Labor denied me leave to have the chance to talk about the motion they voted down, even though I know that fishing interests in Tasmania have contacted Senator Urquhart and others and urged them to support this inquiry, as I know stakeholders around the country have phoned their senators and urged them to support this inquiry. It was going to look at:</p>
  • <p class="italic">The impact of seismic testing on fisheries and the marine environment, with particular reference to:</p>
  • <p class="italic">(a) the regulation of seismic testing, and the responsibilities of federal and state governments&#8212;</p>
  • <p>There have been some pretty big barneys going on between state governments and the federal government over new permits that have been released for the oil and gas industry. I know Senator Canavan will contribute to this debate, and I promise him that I won't cut him off like I did in the last one. My inexperience led me to jump to my feet and wrap up debate. I will be very interested to hear what he has to say, because I know, to use a quote, he has been 'under the pump'. Fishing interests have contacted his office, as no doubt they have many of his colleague's offices, and raised this issue with him. Keep in mind that a Senate inquiry is a chance for everyone to have their say. It is a chance to call witnesses and look at the evidence. There should be nothing to hide if you have nothing to hide. Nevertheless this inquiry has been shut down. Both Labor and the Liberal Party, I suspect, have been got to by big oil and gas and won't be supporting this inquiry. Let me go back to the terms of reference: we want to look at the regulation of seismic testing, and the interplay between state and federal governments.</p>
  • <p>There have been considerable concerns over this. I will shortly read from a summary where the New South Wales fisheries and environment minister was very angry that the federal government had thumbed its nose at his recommendations around new seismic permits off Sydney and Newcastle. Why not thrash that out in a Senate process where we can all participate, hear what different parties have to say and look at whether the balance is right? That is all that is. This is why I tried to initiate this inquiry:</p>
  • <p class="italic">(b) the consultation process regarding the approval of seismic testing&#8212;</p>
  • <p>The rock lobster industry in Tasmania approached me and said, 'Senator, in this consultation process we basically have been given a week to provide our industry's feedback through NOPSEMA on new seismic surveys that are being allocated in Bass Strait and off the west coast of King Island.' King Island is one of my favourite places on Earth, it is absolutely amazing on so many different levels. The fishermen are worried about new seismic testing there. The commercial crayfishing industry are worried about new seismic testing. They had a week.</p>
  • <p>Don't take this from me; the rock lobster industry have been on the record and have spoken to the media. They want this inquiry. They have been asking senators and MPs to support this inquiry, because they are not happy with the consultation process. They believe&#8212;in their own words&#8212;that it has been a 'box-ticking exercise'. I understand that Senator Urquhart apparently doesn't support this inquiry, because she doesn't believe that the seismic testing is going to occur until next year, but the consultation process has occurred now. That is part of this inquiry. That is why we are doing it. She clearly isn't standing up for the local fishing industry, who want this inquiry, which is very disappointing. The next terms of reference are:</p>
  • <p class="italic">(c) how potential impacts are taken into account during the consultation process;</p>
  • <p class="italic">(d) applications for seismic testing in the Otway Basin; off the coast of Newcastle, New South Wales; and the waters surrounding Kangaroo Island, South Australia&#8212;</p>
  • <p>This relates to the new, controversial permits that have been issued to big oil and gas. The terms of reference continue:</p>
  • <p class="italic">(e) recent scientific findings &#8230;</p>
  • <p>I want to tell a story about this. This is a true story&#8212;of course, all of the stories I tell are true. When I started as a senator in 2012, a friend of mine that I went to school with contacted me over in Western Australia. He is a commercial snapper fishermen. He has a boat and he goes out and catches snapper, and that's how he makes his living. He contacted me and said, 'Peter, I've got big problems with seismic testing in my fishery&#8212;not just problems of nearly getting mown down and run over by seismic boats but not having a say in when these seismic boats fire their massive sonic guns down into the ocean and the ocean floor.' He actually had a Mexican stand-off with a seismic boat that could have been really ugly. That's how desperate he's become, because he was being pushed out of his fishery. But he had mapped, through his own fisheries data, the massive decline in his fishing productivity when the seismic testing had occurred, in the years that the seismic testing had pushed him out of his fishery. He was told when and where he could fish by the oil and gas industry. That was his view. It was interesting at the time, because I said to him: 'You know what? In my home state of Tassie, the commercial fishing industry can open doors in state parliament and in federal parliament.' They get supported by a lot of senators in this place, and I've had my share of barneys with them over the years.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Matthew Canavan</p>
  • <p>I thought they were your friends.</p>
  • <p class='motion-notice motion-notice-truncated'>Long debate text truncated.</p>