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- Start of Business
QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
(Ferguson, Martin, MP, Kemp, Dr David, MP)
(Pyne, Chris, MP, Costello, Peter, MP)
(Crosio, Janice, MP, Kemp, Dr David, MP)
(Marek, Paul, MP, Howard, John, MP)
(Ferguson, Martin, MP, Howard, John, MP)
(Baldwin, Bob, MP, Wooldridge, Dr Michael, MP)
(Beazley, Kim, MP, Howard, John, MP)
(Draper, Trish, MP, Costello, Peter, MP)
Goods and Sales Tax
(Evans, Gareth, MP, Howard, John, MP)
(Slipper, Peter, MP, Reith, Peter, MP)
Redundancy and Termination Entitlements
(Andren, Peter, MP, Reith, Peter, MP)
(Evans, Richard, MP, Kemp, Dr David, MP)
(Hollis, Colin, MP, Reith, Peter, MP)
Skase, Mr C.
(Wakelin, Barry, MP, Williams, Daryl, MP)
(O'Connor, Gavan, MP, Fischer, Tim, MP)
(Lloyd, Jim, MP, Wooldridge, Dr Michael, MP)
(Crean, Simon, MP, Howard, John, MP)
(Gash, Joanna, MP, Truss, Warren, MP)
(Macklin, Jenny, MP, Smith, Warwick, MP)
(Hardgrave, Gary, MP, Reith, Peter, MP)
- Small Business
- QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE: ADDITIONAL RESPONSES
- QUESTIONS TO MR SPEAKER
- PERSONAL EXPLANATIONS
- QUESTIONS TO MR SPEAKER
- MATTERS OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
- PARLIAMENTARY SERVICE BILL 1997 [No. 2]
- MATTERS REFERRED TO MAIN COMMITTEE
- AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY (PLANNING AND LAND MANAGEMENT) AMENDMENT BILL 1997
- LAW OFFICERS AMENDMENT BILL 1997
- PRIMARY INDUSTRIES AND ENERGY LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL (No. 3) 1997
QUESTIONS ON NOTICE
(Thomson, Kelvin, MP, Costello, Peter, MP)
Social Security Payments
(Thomson, Kelvin, MP, Fischer, Tim, MP)
(Jones, Barry, MP, Downer, Alexander, MP)
Sirway Asia Pacific Contract
(Bevis, Arch, MP, McLachlan, Ian, MP)
Department of Industry, Science and Tourism: Consultants
(McClelland, Robert, MP, Moore, John, MP)
- Japanese Economy
Tuesday, 10 March 1998
Mr CAMPBELL (10:19 PM) —In this hotchpotch of amendments that is the Primary Industries and Energy Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 3) 1997 , I think the government is to be congratulated for not seeking repayment of loans incurred under the farm household support scheme. There is enough crisis and trauma in the bush, and these are a few crumbs off the table in recognition of those circumstances. I think the government needs to be commended for that.
I want to talk tonight mainly about the South-East Trawl Fishery. The fishery is a very important electorate issue for me, with one-third of Australia's coastline in my electorate, and I am reasonably familiar with the South-East Trawl. The member for Corio (Mr O'Connor) said that he could not understand why the minister has acted this way. I am surprised at that, because it is quite clear why the minister has acted this way. The minister is a fool. Unfortunately, he is the most dangerous sort of fool, because he is a suave, articulate, plausible fool, and they are the worst. This is well known in National Party circles, I might add.
People have spoken here tonight about the threat to the industry. There is no threat to the stock in the South-East Trawl. In fact, the quotas are set on historic quotas and they have not been reduced except in respect of two species: the gem and the orange roughie. They are the only two species that have had any reduction in catch.
You have to actually understand what is going on here. This is probably the most over-regulated fishery in the whole of Australia. When the government changed, the industry thought, `Now is our chance to get some sense. Now commonsense will prevail.' But they tell me—and as late as tonight I have been speaking to people in the South-East Trawl—that the over-regulation and the imposed costs have increased dramatically under the Howard government, and people who have been fishing for two and three decades now simply cannot sustain it, and they are going out of the industry.
When they were looking at the reduction—there were 147 licences in this fishery, I think—they came up with some sums and found a minimum of $6 million was needed for restructuring. As we see, they got $1½ million. It is interesting that, in 1995-96, the industry itself paid in its fisheries levies $1.8 million. So the industry was making a fairly substantial contribution.
We have all this lamenting about threats to the fish stock, but what does the industry do to its regulation? One of the things it does is force people who are trawling to throw back all the bycatch. If they are trawling for a nominated species and they catch something else, they have to throw it back. If they are pulling that from, say, better than 150 fathoms, there will be 100 per cent death of those fish. There will be no survivors; all the fish will die. From shallower levels, you will get some survivors but there will be enormous mortality; you will be lucky if you get 20 or 30 per cent survival. If they are coming from deep water, every fish will die, yet these fishermen are forced to pull the cod in, drop it all back in the water and let it float away in a stream. And people talk about depletion of the fishing industry. Just imagine the effect this has on fish stocks and the income of fishermen.
There is another part of the absurd regulation. For reasons which the fisheries department have unofficially said were to impede the fishing effort, they regulated that, if you set out to trawl (you have to nominate on your log that you are going to trawl) and you then steam out for four hours, but when you get there you find that the swell is running too strong, you have a south-west wind and you cannot trawl, you then have to steam four hours back, take off your trawl gear and put on your line gear—you cannot sail with your line gear on as well. If you could, you could go and do something else if you could not trawl. So you sail another four hours back, and in the course of a day that is 16 hours travelling time. The cost, the bureaucracy, is just enormous. It is true that this is not being enforced. Fisheries have said, `We won't enforce it.' If they will not enforce it, why do they have the legislation? It is because one day they will.
The truth, which is not generally understood in the Australian psyche yet, is this: just as the agenda of the Greens is to close down the pastoralists who do marginal farming in Australia, so the pastoralists will come under increasing attack in this country and the entire frontbenches of the government and the opposition will support it. `We do not need the pastoral industry,' they will say; they will be happy to close it down to placate the Greens. Just as that is happening there, it is also happening in the fishing industry. All these people insinuating themselves into government departments are in fact de facto Greens. There is no threat to this industry. It is just enormously overregulated. There is no threat, bar the threat posed by government.
The fishermen are adamant that their costs have substantially increased under the Howard government. This government had every opportunity to reduce the costs—and the fishing industry had faith it was going to reduce them—but it has gone the other way. If there is no threat to fish stocks in the industry—and the evidence is overwhelming that there is not—what is the point of it? Where is the benefit to Australia? There simply is none. But we find the government saying to us, `You're not competitive. You can't compete against New Zealand imports.' With those sorts of imposts, how can anyone compete? Left to their own devices, Australian fishermen are as efficient as anyone in the same sorts of circumstances.
It really is an indictment of this urban based attitude that has developed in Australia. It is city dominated, and governments of all persuasions—the Lib-Labs—are city dominated. The truth is that Sydney puts an enormous distortion into Australian politics. The numbers are so great. If you look on that side of the chamber, you will see the members from around Sydney. They all have to be placated, of course. That is why—just diverging, Mr Deputy Speaker—the opposition's Wik bill is so wishy-washy: it is to placate those bleeding hearts from Sydney.
As I have said before, one of these days we will have to nuke Sydney in the national interest. That is the only thing that I can see which will ensure national survival.
Mr Latham —Can you notify me when that happens?
Mr CAMPBELL —You will get no notice whatsoever. Actually, you will be all right because we will be leaving the western suburbs pretty much alone—a little neutron bomb right in the centre, I think.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Nehl) —The honourable member for Kalgoorlie might stick to the subject of the bill.
Mr CAMPBELL —I thought it was very germane, actually. We are also talking tonight about recreational fishing. The truth is that recreational fishing is an enormous industry. It is enjoyed by so many people. It is said, I believe on good authority, that God does not detract from man's allotted time the time he spends fishing. If that is so, that is a big encouragement to get out there and fish.
The stress put on the industry by recreational fishermen is self-limiting. When the fish get very scarce, the fish go somewhere else. We should be doing what is done in other countries—that is, putting in artificial reefs to encourage pelagic fish and breeding fish, putting fish back into the ocean. This can be done very simply and very economically. That is the way you handle these things because recreational fishing is such an important industry for the community at large. You do not do it by continual regulation or by stopping people from fishing, because it is their right to fish. In my view, it is the divine right of every man and every woman—men of both sexes is probably the easiest way to say it—to fish.
It is so clear that, with very little effort, you can put into place fish breeding programs which will put an enormous number of young fish back into the ocean, and they can be put in at an age when the greatest threat to them has passed—that is, when they are very small. The cost of that is actually quite small and is much more sensible than this mad demand for more and more regulation.
This industry is an important one. If you could take away the crushing burden of government intervention, this could be a thriving industry which would benefit the entire community. The jobs it would create, the wealth it would create and the feeling of wellbeing it would engender in the nation are what we desperately need, but it has been crushed, not through a lack of fish, not through overfishing, but through blind, mindless government bureaucracy. It is time that we took a very hard look at what we are doing in these areas and made a decision to be proactive in ensuring that the industry survives.
Today, as I said, I was talking to people who say that after 30 years they are being driven out, not through a lack of fish but through government interference, the government imposts. We are seeing this developing in society more and more as Australia breaks up into a growing dichotomy between city and urban Australia. This nation will not survive where the major culture has divided against itself on a city/country basis, but that is happening; and it is being assisted by government action. It does not matter if you change the government. It is so entrenched in that bureaucracy now that it will go on happening.
This has to be recognised by the people of Australia because, if you kill the country, if you kill these rural industries, eventually the cities die too. They do not die immediately—it takes a while—but they die too because there is not a city in Australia that lives on its intrinsic wealth. They all live on the wealth of the hinterland. These are very important industries to us. It is very easy for people in the cities to think that they are insulated from this. It is very easy for them to think that they can exercise this power, can stop recreational fishing, can stop the fishing industry and can stop the pastoral industry and think it will have no repercussions. Ultimately, it will have repercussions, and they will feel the brunt of it. By the time they do, it will be too late because the country will be dead and, once the country is dead, it will not be revived.