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Thursday, 29 May 1997
Page: 3967


Senator MURRAY(Midday) —You would be aware from the tenor of my remarks that I recognise this is a difficult question because of the international consequences and ramifications. I really put it up as an amendment because I, and I think all parties, recognise that this is an unsatisfactory situation, where large numbers of foreign vessels are fishing in our territorial waters and are getting a taxpayer funded rebate which often is not available to our own people. We feel that the unsatisfactory nature of this situation, as I spelled out in my remarks the other day, does need to be addressed more carefully by government and that a way needs to be found to close the loophole because it does cost the taxpayer a lot of money. As you know, you are short of money and the country is short of money, so if you could raise a bit more through this device it would be helpful.

Minister, I would like your assurance that the minister responsible and the department will continue to examine ways of tightening this up and resolving what we see as an unsatisfactory situation. Also, as I recall, Senator Cook asked a question which I do not think you have responded to in your remarks.