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Regional Impact Statements to assess marine park impacts

Minister Ian Hunter
Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation / Minister for Water and the River Murray / Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation

Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Minister Ian Hunter today provided Parliament with an update on the process of completing Regional Impact Assessment Statements, which will assess the impact of marine park sanctuary zones in Ceduna, Port Wakefield and Kangaroo Island.

The State Government committed to completing the Statements prior to legislation creating sanctuary zones in marine parks coming into effect on 1 October this year.

Mr Hunter said the statements will be completed by 1 October 2015.

"Importantly, information will be considered as it becomes available and if areas of concern are identified, the Government will address them immediately rather than waiting until the end of the assessment process," Mr Hunter said.

Mr Hunter announced that the South Australian Centre of Economic Studies has agreed to undertake the assessment of socio-economic data including unemployment rate, household income and coastal property prices.

"In addition, it will model some of the flow-on socio-economic affects," Mr Hunter said.

"The Centre's work will be incorporated into the broader Regional Impact Assessment Statement, coordinated by the Goyder Institute for Water Research.

"The South Australian Research and Development Institute will also undertake work on fisheries catch data to assess impacts to commercial fishers.

"Other assessment areas, such as the ecological/environment components, park visitation rates and regional surveys will be undertaken by the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources."

Mr Hunter confirmed that Goyder would engage an independent expert to peer review of all three Statements in order to ensure community confidence in the process.

“The impact assessment process will also investigate the positive opportunities that may arise from marine parks, such as marine-related businesses and other land based regional initiatives.

“Community members will also be consulted about any change in their circumstances that are attributable to marine parks.

“The Government recognises the importance of striking the right balance between supporting regional communities and businesses and protecting our marine environment. This work will help us assess whether we are achieving that balance,” he said.