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Tuesday, 24 March 1981
Page: 670


Senator McLAREN —by leave-When this agreement came before the chamber on 20 November 1979 I moved that the Senate take note of it. I take it that this is the same agreement.


Senator Archer —It is a new one.


Senator McLAREN —I am informed that it is not the same agreement. The same fishing company-Kaohsiung Fishing Co. Pty Ltd-is involved. When the matter came before us previously the company was known as the Kailis Kaohsiung fishing company. Has it changed its name now?


Senator Archer —No.


Senator McLAREN —When I spoke on 20 November 1979 I pointed out that I would not speak too long because I had come to an agreement with the Government that a reference be given to a Senate standing committee. That reference is referred to on page 2556 of the Senate Hansard of 20 November. The motion that I moved, by leave, and which was agreed to stated:

That the following matter be referred to the Standing Committee on Trade and Commerce: The Commonwealth's responsibility for the development of the Australian fishing industry following the declaration of 200 mile off-shore sovereignty.

I concur with everything that my colleague, Senator Robertson, said today on the tabling of this agreement. I note that Senator Archer is in the chamber. He is now the Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Trade and Commerce. The previous Chairman, Senator Sheil, is no longer a member of the Senate. As that reference was given to the Senate Standing Committee on Trade and Commerce on 20 November 1979 I would be interested to know from Senator Archer how far he has gone in that inquiry or whether he has started it. If the Committee has not started its inquiry, I think some criticism should be levelled at the fact that we are now entering into a further agreement with people in Taiwan which allows access to the Australian fishing zone by fishing vessels operating out of and owned in Taiwan.

As my colleague, Senator Robertson, said, we need to see that our resources are used for the benefit of Australian citizens and not foreign countries. The whole purpose of having that reference given to a Senate standing committee was to have a look into where the Australian fishing industry was going and whether our local fishermen were getting any benefit from our national resources. I think that matter is of great importance. That opinion was expressed to me by many people in the fishing industry. I have not mentioned the matter since the agreement was tabled here on 20 November 1979. I hoped that the committee of inquiry would be well under way and that it would not be long before a report was tabled in the Senate. I am not aware as to how far that inquiry has proceeded. I hope that Senator Archer will inform the Senate of the present stage of the inquiry.