Ikin, Macdonald welcome additional funding for ghost nets

Liberal National candidate for Kennedy, Noeline Ikin and Coalition spokesman on Northern Australia, Senator Ian Macdonald, welcomed the Coalitions commitment to an additional $700,000 for the Ghost Nets program announced by Shadow Environment Minister Greg Hunt yesterday.

Ms Ikin and Senator Macdonald said that the additional money would help not only the environment and indigenous employment but commercial fishing interests as well.

I am delighted this program has received additional funds as it is so important for the Gulf of Carpentaria, Ms Ikin said.

In my former job as CEO of the Northern Gulf Natural Resource Management Group this program was initiated and put into practice.

Senator Macdonald said that as Minister for Fisheries and Conservation he had initially funded the project after representations by Ms Ikin.

This program could almost be said to be a monument to all of those people in the Gulf region of Queensland who have worked so hard to protect the fish stocks, dugong and turtle by cleaning up discarded nets that have been carried into the Gulf by currents from Indonesian, PNG and Philippine waters, Senator Macdonald said.

The work of the Balkanu and other indigenous groups on the turtle and dugong has been invaluable, but it was Noeline Ikin who was instrumental in convincing me as minister that this program should be funded back in 2004,

Shadow Environment Minister Greg Hunt said that as well as on the ground action, under a Coalition government a lot of effort would go into working with our near northern neighbours to address the problem created by the discard and escape of nets from adjoining jurisdictions.

I am delighted to be able to build upon the initial work of Ms Ikin and the Northern Gulf NRM group as part of our $5 million Dugong and Turtle Protection Plan which invests in Indigenous Rangers and will crackdown on illegal poaching.

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