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Thursday, 25 February 2010
Page: 1972

Mr SLIPPER (11:25 AM) —My contribution will be necessarily brief as I have to be Deputy Speaker in the main chamber at 11.30 am. I just want to place on record that the Fisheries Legislation Amendment Bill 2009 is an important bill which does not have any opposition in the House. The aim of the bill is to ensure Australia’s fisheries are adequately protected through the Australian Fisheries Management Authority, to reduce red tape in fisheries licensing and to improve provisions for fish receiver licences and the quota system in the Torres Strait protected zone.

In the couple of minutes available to me I want to say just how important the fishing industry is on the Sunshine Coast; in particular, a large number of trawlers bring catches into Mooloolaba. Many of those catches are chilled and exported to Japan and they make a wonderful contribution towards Australia’s export performance. Over the years I have been approached by trawler owners on the Sunshine Coast who have been concerned about changing government regulation, which, in many cases, makes it difficult for them to win catches and to make a living. Also, concerns have been expressed to me that boats have been coming from other fishing areas to the traditional fishing areas of the boats on the Sunshine Coast, with consequences of a financial nature which are not particularly good for the local fishermen. Further, the fishing industry has been adversely affected by the increase in fuel costs, and if fuel costs once again go to the high level they have previously been then many of the fishing operators who have made such a wonderful contribution to the Sunshine Coast economy for so long will find it difficult to continue.

I want to place on record that I greatly admire the fishing industry on the Sunshine Coast for the highly professional way in which they carry out their operations and for the tremendous amount of employment which is generated locally. It is important that governments do not lose sight of the importance of local fishing and local fishing industries.

In conclusion, I would like to congratulate the Deputy Clerk, Mr David Elder, on his elevation to this office. Mention of this was made in the main chamber. I have known David for a very long time. He has held just about every position one could hold in the parliament and he has carried out all of the responsibilities of those positions with great diligence, great competence and great impartiality. I know that by having David Elder as the Deputy Clerk we will continue in this place to have quality clerks in whom everyone can have a great sense of confidence and respect. I commend the bill to the House.