A funny way of showing support Geoff

MAYOR: District Council of Ceduna Mayor Allan Suter.
MAYOR: District Council of Ceduna Mayor Allan Suter.

CEDUNA mayor Allan Suter is calling for the Marine Parks Sanctuary Zones Regional Impact Assessment Statement to be carried out by an independent party in the wake of the one-vote loss of the Marine Parks Amendment Bill in Parliament last week.

Last Thursday Mr Suter, along with 300 other people, rallied on the steps of Parliament in Adelaide in the hope of influencing the decisions of independent MPs Martin Hamilton-Smith and Geoff Brock.

However the vote taken that day revealed their worst fears that on October 1 all 84 marine park sanctuaries will come into effect.

"The positive from the rally was I asked for a commitment from the Liberal Party on the steps of Parliament to reverse the 12 zones we are effected by if re-elected, and I got it," Mr Suter said.

The state government has now committed to a 12-month investigation on economic and social impacts arising from the establishment of sanctuary zones within marine parks across Ceduna, Port Wakefield and Kangaroo Island.

The assessment will attempt to find positive and negative effects of the new zones on the regions and if harm is found, the state government will take steps to compensate and provide financial support to those effected.

Mr Suter said the Ceduna District Council would support the Regional Impact Assessment Statement process, however it should be conducted by an independent party in consultation with the local community and council.

"We are hoping that the South Australian Research and Development Institute do not undertake the assessment, it shouldn't just be some 'pet dog' the state government chooses because we know what the outcome will be," Mr Suter said.

"We want it done properly and honestly, if it's going to be conducted like all the other state government reports, they should save the ink."

Regional Development Minister Geoff Brock didn't support the amendment and said he based his decision on the results of consulting widely about the issue with many locals, including councils and commercial fishers.

"I've listened to locals and have formed the view that a lot of the concerns about the economic impact of sanctuary zones are based more on perception and uncertainty about change on what might happen, rather than what will happen when the regulations commence on October 1 this year," Mr Brock said.

"The Regional Impact Assessment Statements will provide a strong focus on considering any potential regional impacts, assessing the extent of any impacts and importantly adjusting proposals to ensure regional needs are addressed."

Mr Suter is concerned after Mr Brock offered his support for the region and his intentions to support the Marine Parks Amendment Bill, damage had already occurred in a different manner.

"I guess there are a lot people saying this is a very funny way of showing your support for our regions Geoff," Mr Suter said.

"The only good thing that will come out of the assessment is it will show the dangerous harm we are facing and hopefully we will receive funding to undo some of the damage, but if that funding is going to support eco-tourism, I can tell you we don't want it, stupid idea."

South Australia has 19 marine parks, within which there are sanctuary zones where fishing and other commercial activity is banned.

These sanctuary zones make up six per cent of South Australian waters and come into effect on October 1.

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