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Thursday, 18 March 2010
Page: 2214


Senator COLBECK (12:50 PM) —The Fisheries Legislation Amendment Bill 2009 will amend the Fisheries Management Act 1991 and the Torres Strait Fisheries Act 1984 with three main objectives: to improve the ability of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority, AFMA, to provide an efficient, cost-efficient and effective fisheries management service through changes to the administration of fisheries licensing and the introduction of electronic decision making; to ensure that fisheries officers engaged in investigating suspected illegal fishing can be properly equipped to safely perform that function; and, to provide for consolidated arrangements regulating holders of fish receivers licences in the Torres Strait.

The e-licensing provision is something that has been developed in conjunction with the industry. It has been operating for a period of time. While that new provision comes into effect there is also the capacity for fishers to continue to operate with the current paper-based system or the new e-licensing system. It does remove some of the restrictions on the trading of the trading of fishing concessions subject to certain prescribed circumstances.

With respect to defensive equipment, the provision is about things like bulletproof vests, extendable batons and handcuffs, and any other equipment that would need to be purchased under the prescribed regulations, but there are still opportunities for new pieces of equipment to be considered. With respect to the Torres Strait fish receiver licence, the provision clarifies the operation of the current scheme, which on commencement was found to be quite cumbersome and repetitive. Accepting this amendment to the legislation certainly makes it easier for people to operate within the system and reflects the true intent of the original act. The opposition is quite happy to support this piece of legislation.