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MT 25 May 2017

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maltatoday, THURSDAY, 25 MAY 2017 6 News PN against White Rocks development hopes to convert it into nature park TIM DIACONO A Nationalist government will impose harsher controls on fish farm waste and ensure that fish farms comply with an agreement to shift their operations offshore, PN leader Simon Busuttil said yes- terday. Launching the PN's environ- ment proposal at Zonqor Point, Busuttil recounted how fish farms last year reached an agreement to relocate their operations offshore in the wake of a public outcry that fish farm slime was contaminat- ing the sea, but that nothing has been done since. The PN leader also pledged to set up an underwater eco-museum, the first in the Mediterranean, to serve as a tourist attraction. A Nationalist government will also draft a national long-term en- vironment strategy stretching up to 2050, with interim targets that successive governments will have to adhere to. In the more short-term, it will develop a new Strategic Plan for the Environment and Develop- ment, so as to close off planning loopholes in the SPED passed by the Labour government. Busuttil reiterated his pledge to stop Sadeen from building part of its American University of Malta campus at Zonqor Point, and to convert White Rocks into a nature park instead of a luxury real-es- tate site, as envisaged by Labour. He added that Planning Author- ity and the Environment and Re- sources Authority will be freed from political interference, and that green NGOs will be more in- volved in the two authorities. Large projects on ODZ land will have to be approved by a two- thirds parliamentary majority, after the Planning Authority has green-lighted the development proposal. It will develop a national sky- line policy that will ban the con- struction of skyscrapers in certain areas, and ensure no land recla- mation projects for speculative purposes. Moratorium on turtle dove to remain Responding to questions by MaltaToday, Busuttil confirmed that he has no intention of lifting a moratorium on the spring hunt- ing of turtle dove. "As I understand, the decision to impose a moratorium was based on a scientific recommendation, so I will rely on that scientific rec- ommendation," he said. The moratorium was imposed last year, after the International Union for the Conservation of Nature classified the turtle dove as a vulnerable species. Manoel Island should to be open to the public During the press conference, Busuttil also confirmed that he would like to see Manoel Island remain as open to the public as possible. However, he did not come out against the MIDI consortium's plans to construct a shopping complex, casino-hotel and luxury apartments on the island, arguing that the majority of the island will not be built up. "The development plans for Manoel Island are the result of a private contract that we have no access to," he said. "However, the current plans will see 62% of the island, including the foreshore, remain open to the public, 20% of it occupied by restored histori- cal buildings and 18% taken up by new buildings. "I will enter discussions with [MIDI] to ensure that they stick to their promises within the stip- ulated timeframes and that the fi- nal result will allow the public to enjoy it even more than they cur- rently do." Busuttil if elected plana to convert White Rocks into a nature park instead of a luxury real-estate site We must be the ones to take action on the 3 June," - Busuttil CONTINUES FROM PAGE 1 Busuttil said that while there were many proposals that were worth mentioning, there were ten in particular which he said he par- ticularly fond of. The first of these proposals, he said was to clean up Maltese politics once and for and to ensure that nobody could ever commit abuses that would drag the country's reputation through the mud. Secondly, he said the PN was pledging to create 30,000 quality jobs that would serve to elevate employment conditions around the island. The PN's proposals to offer a 10% in- come tax rate to self-employed workers and small-time retailers on their first €50,000 in profits, as well as the pledge to reduce income tax to 10% for all workers earning up to €20,000 showed the PN was serious about social solidar- ity. "This is what social solidarity looks like, not the blab la of the champagne socialist," he said. He said the PN was also pledging to give Zonqor point and White Rocks back to the people. On traffic, he said a revolution was needed to address the traffic problem and that the time had come for a PN government to implement an alterna- tive transport system that would be more worth using than a car. Furthermore, the PN leader said a government led by himself would re- duce the price of fuel by 5c per litre and would see to it that the price remains below the European average as long as the PN is in power. The Labour Party, he said, had done been right to introduce free childcare for workers and added that he was hap- py that the PN was now proposing for this to be extended to free childcare for all. Finally, he said that the PN also appre- ciated the elderly in society and would be introducing a substantial increase in the pensions as well as offering free medicine to those that needed it. Turning to reports of Russian interfer- ence in Maltese politics, Busuttil said that the level to which Muscat had de- scended was ridiculous. He said that "We are now in the final phase were people start to ridicule you because they are fed up," said Busut- til, adding that had the Prime Minis- ter been serious about his position, he would first have waited for the result of the inquiry before calling an election. He warned that if Muscat were to be re-elected the country's institutions would grind to a halt and there would be almost no chance of any action be- ing taken following the results of the inquiry. Busuttil said the magistrate had stopped short of saying the inquiry would definitely be published after the election, but had stressed that it was a very delicate and complex matter that needed its time. He questioned whether, had Malta been any other European country, Keith Schembri and Joseph Muscat would still be in their place. "They have lost every sense of shame standards and decency to do what is right. "Seeing as they have lost, we must be the ones to take action on the 3 June." Busuttil said that on Wednesday morning he had met with a number of practitioners in the financial services sector who he said were terrified at the fact that their sector was hanging by a thread. "People in the financial services sec- tor feel Joseph Muscat does not have the credibility to clear Malta's name, and they are right," he said, adding that the PN would rebuild the country's reputa- tion. "I am prepared to do this next month when the sixth month of Malta's presi- dency of the European Union comes to an end," he said. "I will send a clear message that the Maltese people chose Malta, and chose to clear the country's name and was writing a new chapter in the country's history." Busuttil warned of the ripple effect of the collapse of the sector would on the economy, and the livelihood of those who indirectly depended on the sector. A manifesto for fighting corruption Deputy leader Beppe Fenech Adami said that the manifesto was based on the PN's promise to fight corruption. "With Simon Busuttil as Prime Minis- ter we will have a government that prac- tices an honest type of politics," he said, adding that on the 4 June the country will once again have accountability, transparency and meritocracy. He said the first decisions taken by a PN government would be to appoint a new Police Commissioner, who will have the responsibility of "reinstating a sense of pride" within the police force, and who would embark on an investi- gation into the "corruption" that had brought the country to its present state. Fenech Adami said the PN had pledged that it would do things differently to the way they were done by Muscat and would ensure that which "was not per- fect" the last time the PN was in gov- ernment, is corrected. Above all, he said the Muscat admin- istration was characterised by sleaze, mediocrity and an attitude where "eve- rything goes". "Joseph Muscat has lowered our standards but Simon Busuttil will raise them," he said. "One of the crises we have is that people have lost faith in politicians and I am convinced Busut- til will raise standards and bring back ethics that will restore this faith in poli- tics." He insisted that was Muscat "has done" in the past four years should nev- er happen again. "We are in politics to serve and not to act in our own interests," he said, add- ing that under a PN administration the time for relatives and friends to be re- warded with government appointments would become a thing of the past. "We need to get used to the idea that appointments are not presents," he said, insisting that important positions should be occupied by those who were capable. For this to happen, he said that ap- pointees would have to go through par- liamentary scrutiny so that if a person does not qualify for a post they are not appointed. Moreover, he said that for an honest politics, party financing laws needed to be updated so that parties would no longer be dependent on third parties.

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