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Wednesday, 8 February 2017
Page: 323


Senator McGRATH (QueenslandAssistant Minister to the Prime Minister) (15:46): I table the explanatory memorandum relating to the bill and move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

I seek leave to have the second reading speech incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speech read as follows—

The Fisheries Legislation Amendment (Representation) Bill 2017 reflects the Australian Government's ongoing commitment to the long-term sustainable use and development of Australia's fisheries resources. The Australian Government continues to work with all

fisheries users—commercial, recreational and Indigenous to ensure ecologically sustainable

development and achieve the maximum benefit to the Australian community of this important and publicly owned resource.

Our fisheries management framework is internationally recognised as one of the best in the world. In 2015 no fish stock managed solely by the Commonwealth was subject to overfishing, ensuring the sustainability of Australia's fisheries for the benefit of present and future generations of Australians.

Commonwealth fisheries legislation primarily regulates the commercial harvest of fish stocks in Commonwealth fisheries to ensure catch rates and fish stocks are at sustainable levels. However in recent years there has been an increase in the amount of recreational fishing occurring in Commonwealth waters.

By recognising and taking the interests of all users into account in the Commonwealth fisheries management framework, the government can enhance regulatory certainty and improve access to Commonwealth fish stocks consistent with their optimal use as a public resource.

As significant stakeholders in Commonwealth fisheries it is important that recreational fishers' interests can be readily identified and taken into consideration by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA).

Recreational fishers have an interest in a number of fish stocks managed by the Australian Government. Considering their interests as part of the fisheries management framework is important both for ensuring sustainable fish stocks and for optimising the benefits of our fisheries resources for the Australian community. Proposed amendments will address this, ensuring that legislation keeps pace with the changes in use of Commonwealth waters and thus stays effective in ensuring sustainable management of the resource.

Fishing by Indigenous Australians should also be recognised as a sector in its own right in fishery management regimes, including for any traditional customary fishing rights. It is important that governments recognise and understand the strong relationship Indigenous people have with fishery resources and ensure the fisheries management frameworks appropriately accommodate sustainable cultural fishing through greater and more meaningful engagement with Indigenous communities.

The amendments to the Fisheries Management Act 1991 and the Fisheries Administration Act 1991 will ensure that the interests of all fisheries users are adequately represented, and taken into consideration in fisheries management decisions.

This Bill provides greater certainty to stakeholder groups regarding the extent to which their interests should be identified, represented and considered by AFMA. It also allows for greater membership of all interested parties on management advisory committees.

The inclusion of a new objective in both Acts ensures that legislation keeps pace with the changes in use of Commonwealth managed fish stocks, particularly given the increasing presence of recreational fishers in Commonwealth waters. It improves transparency and provides formal mechanisms for recreational and Indigenous fishers to voice their views regarding proposed changes in management decisions.

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The inclusion of an additional objective is consistent with representations from recreational fishers and Indigenous advisory bodies. Submissions by these sectors to the recent Productivity Commission Inquiry into the Regulation of Australian Marine Fisheries and Aquaculture Sectors called for legislative recognition of the two sectors as well as greater involvement in AFMA's decision-making framework.

In addition to a new objective, the Bill amends the eligibility criteria for the appointment of AFMA Commissioners. The criteria will be expanded to include the addition of expertise in matters relating to recreational and Indigenous fishing.

Broadening the eligibility criteria of AFMA Commissioners to include expertise in matters relating to recreational and Indigenous fishers will enhance the capacity of the AFMA Commission to respond to future challenges in fisheries management.

Finally, the Bill increases the maximum number of members on AFMA's Management Advisory Committees from seven to 10. It also includes a requirement for AFMA to actively seek, as far as practicable, recreational fishing members on relevant Management Advisory Committees. These amendments will ensure that there is greater opportunity for key fisheries stakeholders to be appropriately represented on Management Advisory Committees.

Importantly, the Bill strengthens the voice of recreational fishers and Indigenous stakeholders in regard to the management of Commonwealth fisheries without compromising the Commonwealths world class fisheries management framework.

The PRESIDENT: In accordance with standing order 111, further consideration of this bill is now adjourned to 20 March this year.