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Thursday, 18 October 1984
Page: 2012

Senator ARCHER(8.21) —I am concerned that the legislation is far more open-ended than I believe is desirable in a case such as this. There is no doubt that the legislation was designed to take care of a particular operation-that is , buy-back system in the Gulf of Carpentaria-and I believe legislation to do exactly that would have been appropriate. When I read some of the clauses and the second reading speech of the Attorney-General (Senator Gareth Evans) I find that it is extraordinarily wide, and I do not know how it will possible to ensure that it is used for the purpose for which it was originally designed. For instance, the speech says in part:

. . . this is a straightforward Bill that does no more than establish flexible machinery for subsequently imposing levies. It is not intended that the fishing industry levy should be a means of raising general revenue . . . the levy will apply only to fisheries in which the Commonwealth has the sole or a major responsibility for managing and will not apply to fisheries for which States are solely responsible.

I cannot find the sorts of things that will put any limits on any declaration of any sort. There is nothing in the speech to indicate the sort of level to be charged. In fact the reverse is the case, because the speech says:

Levy will be imposed only to fund specific management programs or associated research activities in particular fisheries, after consultation with the segment of the fishing industry and the State or States concerned.

That does not mean that agreement has to be obtained from anybody. I have seen many such arrangements where consultation does not necessarily mean agreement. Whilst I certainly support managed fisheries and a lot of industry participation and payment, I really believe that this legislation is far broader than is appropriate. I cannot see who is to determine the appropriate level and cost of management, for instance. I cannot see how much real say anybody is going to have in the management of it. I would appreciate some advice on that point.