CEO Message – Industry united in its stand against challenges

There’s been an upsurge of issues over recent times which underlines the never-ending challenges our industry faces at every level.  You can be assured that we are throwing the kitchen sink to best defend and protect our interests, which are of critical importance to the State’s food security as well as the health of coastal communities.

Whether it’s supporting a diverse range of fishers who are currently challenging through the State Administrative Tribunal over the abundant inequity of the FRICMA Act for compensation from the Ngari Capes Marine Park – or WA’s challenge to the Commonwealth Administrative Appeals Tribunal for the clear lack of procedural fairness and natural justice from the recent government decision to impose unnecessary burdens on the shark industry – we have been on the front foot, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with affected fishers.

We have also lodged appeals to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its poor recent determinations which will have clear deleterious impacts on commercial fishing from salt production ventures in Shark Bay as well as the Pilbara coast. We’re absolutely determined to make sure that we have our voice properly heard and the industry receives the support it so richly deserves.

We’ve also taken a leading role in trying to secure a win-win solution for the aquaculture zone boundaries in Albany, where we want to craft solutions which allow both aquaculture and commercial fishing to be jointly successful.

Then there’s the South Coast Marine Park process which unfortunately to date has been a shambles, requiring our continual representations to government to ensure they understand the need to minimise impacts on our all-important fishing families.

Meanwhile we have been making widespread representations to government as well as the general community over the need to have both the commercial and recreational sectors to strictly remain safely within the agreed thresholds for the sustainable recovery of the west coast demersal stocks.  This includes the need for accurate real-time measurements for the recreational sector and I trust you have recently seen the considerable television and radio coverage we have generated nationally over this all-important issue.  Then we have further stimulated some excellent industry stories on ABC TV Landline and countless stories in the press and radio, so there’s no doubt that WAFIC currently has its highest media profile ever and we will aim to maintain this over coming months as a raft of further challenges will be facing public scrutiny.

This all underpins the need for our industry to be working together closely, collaboratively and cohesively to present a united front to government and the general community.  We are now entering a challenging phase and when we consider what has recently happened to the forest industry, we are reminded of the need to enhance our social licence and have a consolidated voice.  It’s so critically important that all sectors work together for the common good and the community sees us acting with singular vision and purpose.