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Wednesday, 23 May 2007
Page: 9

Ms LEY (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) (9:30 AM) —I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

The bill contains amendments which are consequential to the Fisheries Legislation Amendment Bill 2007 and complements the Howard government’s efforts to modernise legislation affecting the governance and management of the Torres Strait fisheries. Together, the bills will provide the minister and the Torres Strait Protected Zone Joint Authority—PZJA—with broader powers to implement cost recovery in these fisheries consistent with Australian government and PZJA policy.

These amendments appear in a separate bill to the Fisheries Legislation Amendment Bill 2007 because levies are a form of taxation and, under the Constitution, require separate legislation.

The Fisheries Legislation Amendment Bill 2007 will enable the minister and the PZJA to introduce plans of management for Torres Strait fisheries which are underpinned by output controls, for instance a quota management system. The bill will make it possible for the costs of managing Torres Strait fisheries governed by these management plans to be recovered from fishers. The bill also makes it possible for levies to be collected against a new licence ‘without a boat’.

The Fisheries Levy Act 1984—the act—is the mechanism for collecting levies in fisheries managed under the TSF Act. Under current arrangements, the act provides for levies to be collected against a plan of management as determined by the Fisheries Act 1952, which has been superseded by the Fisheries Management Act 1991, the FM Act. Plans of management for Torres Strait fisheries are made under the TSF Act rather than the FM Act. The definition of a management plan will be amended by this bill to include a plan determined under the TSF Act.

The bill also consequentially amends references to ‘units of fishing capacity’ in the act so that these references are consistent with those in the TSF Act and so that levies can be calculated according to arrangements set out in management plans determined under that legislation.

I commend the bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Crean) adjourned.