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Monday, 18 March 2013
Page: 1838

Senator FEENEY (VictoriaParliamentary Secretary for Defence) (11:14): The Fisheries Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2012 is an important step in improving data collection for fisheries through the introduction of electronic monitoring—e-monitoring—on Commonwealth fishing boats. Australian fisheries are a valuable natural resource and must be carefully managed to ensure sustainability. E-monitoring is a cost-effective way of collecting high-quality data on fishing and related activities. This includes the impact of fishing on target and non-target species and on the marine environment as a whole. E-monitoring will also generate data with which to monitor compliance with relevant laws. E-monitoring will complement other monitoring techniques, such as observers' and log book reports, and is expected to reduce the cost to fishers and to the Australian Fisheries Management Authority, AFMA, of monitoring and managing our fisheries. The bill will enable AFMA to fully utilise e-monitoring as a monitoring and data collection tool. It also includes a number of provisions to make sure the e-monitoring scheme is effective, transparent and administratively efficient.

The bill also makes minor amendments to make the legislation clearer, more consistent and simpler to administer. This includes amendments to clearly state the obligations on AFMA when making directions to close fisheries. It will also help to ensure that corporations and other principals can be held responsible for fisheries offences committed by their directors, employees and agents. Finally, it will allow levies to be waived when statutory fishing rights are surrounded. The measures included in this bill are important steps in bringing modern monitoring technology to Australia's fisheries and enabling AFMA to implement efficient and cost-effective fisheries management. I commend the bill to the Senate.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.