Country Alliance – Fishing policy

G’day bunch of dedicated journos!

We’ll soon be at the business end of the federal election with Country Alliance likely to be a small but influential player in Victoria and possibly Tasmania – so you might like to have a dig through our policies ( see what we stand for.

Speaking of which, we’ve just approved a new pro-fishing policy. While this is predominately a state issue, it runs strong with our economic development (ie job creation) theme for the recreational sector as a whole. Note the reference to the Ernst & Young study – the importance and value of the recreational sector to Australia is arguably something no-one actually understands. We’ll start small, with Victoria.

Here’s the policy.
Fishing: Expanding the opportunities
We will increase investment in fishing by providing matching government funding for licence revenue raised on a $1 per $1 basis.
We will also:
• guarantee existing funded fishing programs including the Recreational Fishing Initiative;
• use the findings of the economic study of the recreational sector outlined in our broader recreation policy, to expand fishing programs;
• implement mutual recognition of interstate fishing licences and waivers for overseas visitors recognising we have no guarantee of reciprocity from other states;
• remove any federal legislation that impacts on recreational fishing activities;
• require a targeted study to determine the ecological, socio and economic impacts of commercial and public uses of estuaries, inlets and bays;
• require a full review of the effectiveness of marine parks to determine the need for new parks or extent of current parks;
• allow recreational fishing activities to occur in marine parks from the beach and on privately registered boats, without the use of anchors.
In Victoria an Ernst & Young study estimated the value of the recreational fishing sector to be worth in excess of $2bn in economic value to the state. Yet the largest Victorian government investment into fishing is $16m over 4 years. In otherwords the government invests only 0.2% towards the value of the sector.
Country Alliance views fishing as a serious economic activity that has real value to the Australian economy. It creates employment and positive social benefits.
Country Alliance is of the view that the benefit of this can be realised by the immediate introduction of a dollar for dollar subsidy by the government for every dollar raised through recreational fishing licenses. Recreational licence fees will not increase.
Commercial development, land use and public use of our estuaries, inlets and bays have impacts which need to be better understood. An evaluation of these uses is needed to enhance the value of these natural resources for the state.
Other barriers
Our policy will preserve funded fishing programs and implement more significant investments once a proper study of the economic opportunities for fishing has been completed.
The remaining barriers to fishing that our policy addresses are not based on any credible science, but the desire by some groups and politicians to incrementally reduce access to fishing. Federal legislation should have no place in limiting recreational fishing in state waters.
Evidence from overseas points to the current policy settings in Australia are deficient in their design and thinking, and are detrimental to our economy and way of life. Country Alliance seeks to change that.


Neil Jenkins
Country Alliance
Ph 0425 746 066

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