“Our Industry can Move Forward,” says Peak WA Fishing Body on Federal Election
The Western Australian Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC) congratulates the Liberal Coalition on being re-elected to our Federal Parliament and looks forward to a positive future for WA’s sustainable seafood industry.
Alex Ogg, WAFIC’s interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO), said the Coalition has demonstrated its commitment to supporting the Australian commercial fishing industry.
“A main concern regarding the major party election promises was Labor’s plan to rewind the clock to the 2012 Commonwealth Marine Park Management Plans.”
“This would have reversed over a decade of combined work between the commercial and recreational industries along with two Federal Governments to achieve a balance between conservation and access to Australia’s fish resources.”
“Importantly, the assistance packages negotiated with Government by fishers for loss of access to protected areas, including $5 millions in grants to assist fisheries to adjust to the new parks, will now be preserved under the return of Government.”
“The retention of existing boundaries in the Federal Government’s Marine Reserves allows us to move forward, including implementation of commonwealth funded projects, instead of having to fend with a new round financial uncertainty and wellbeing issues across our industry.”
Mr Ogg recognises the policy agenda of the Government, which also includes:
- Funding of $29 million package delivering more fishing opportunities for recreational, commercial, Indigenous and aquaculture fishers;
- $600,000 for mental health support – delivering support for a trial of a mental health trusted advocate program for the fisheries sector;
- A National Fisheries Plan: working with all fishing parties to deliver a new sector blueprint to grow the industry;
- Development of a Commonwealth Fisheries Resource Sharing Framework: outlining the rules for sharing resources across the fishing sectors, between the Commonwealth and other Australian jurisdictions; and
- $400,000 for capacity building for fishing representatives: to build capacity-building tools to ensure all relevant fishing sectors are included in decision-making and to maximise their contribution.
In addition to the above initiatives, WAFIC is keen for the Government to adopt one of the Labor party’s pre-election policies to convene a national fisheries summit. This would bring together key stakeholders from our commercial fishery and aquaculture sectors, state and Federal regulators, other interested parties including recreational fishing representatives, to jointly address common challenges.
Mr Ogg concluded by emphasising that WAFIC is committed to working hand in hand with our parliamentary representatives.
“We look forward to working with the Federal Government on current and future policies that will secure the long-term access to the resource and drive our seafood industry forward for the benefit of all Australians. Eating local seafood needs to remain a freedom of choice,” he said.