WAFIC invites Premier Cook to meet Esperance locals

Darryl Hockey spoke with Premier Roger Cook recently on ABC’s breakfast show with Nadia Mitsopoulis about the frustrations commercial fishers are finding with the marine park consultation process.

Darryl said WAFIC continues to make representations to government to ensure they understand the devastating consequences of the plans proposed by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA).  However, the castle walls are very high.  WAFIC has twice written to the Premier requesting an urgent meeting, however there has been no response.

The following is a transcript of the discussion, as it happened on ABC:

NADIA: This is Darryl Hockey, from the WA Fishing Industry Council.

DARRYL: Good morning, Nadia; good morning, Premier.

Look, the consultation process for the South Coast Marine Park has been a diabolical fiasco. The community has been ignored and the current plans will devastate the viability of commercial fishing and interrupt the supply of fresh local seafood to the metropolitan area.

So my question is, Premier, would you be prepared to meet with WAFIC so that we can discuss this issue? And also, will you be prepared to come to Esperance to meet a delegation of local people, so you understand the concerns that they hold.

PREMIER: Darryl, as you know, the nature of the marine park boundaries construction and the rules that govern it have been the subject of a long consultation process.

We have a range of priorities in terms of this. We want to make sure that we preserve the marine environment. As you know that’s an important objective to ensure that we have sustainable commercial fisheries, commercial fisheries for me, is a significant priority as well.

You provide put food on people’s tables at night, we understand that. We’ve got people you want to employ and businesses you want to want to run. We also have to balance that with the recreational fisheries. And as you know, this is a this is a delicate balance that Minister Punch is, the Fisheries Minister is always trying to get that balance right.

We know that we don’t necessarily agree with all stakeholders all the time, but we know that we have to make sure that we preserve our fishing stocks for both industry and recreational fishers into the future.

NADIA: So no, to Esperance…..?

NADIA: Would you take up that invitation….?

NADIA: They’re listening…….?

PREMIER: Well, I’ve been watching. I’ve been watching the debate around Esperance for some time and you know we’ll continue to talk with the community and consult in relation to this.

And I’ve received impassioned, you know, communications from people on all sides of that particular debate.And I appreciate the work that that Darryl and WAFIC do. They are an important part of our economy and an important part of the jobs that we provide for Western Australia

The interview ended there.

So there you have it, ladies and gents, amongst all the explanation, I think the answer is likely to be “NO!”

We won’t stop asking though.

You can listen to the audio file here.