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Friday, 19 April 1985
Page: 1548

(Question No. 43)

Mr Jull asked the Minister for Sport, Recreation and Tourism, upon notice, on 22 February 1985:

(1) Did he or his Department authorise a press release foreshadowing increased federal taxes on fishing equipment and boat fuel, following a meeting of the Australian Recreational Fishing Confederation in Brisbane, on or about 9 December 1984.

(2) Did he or his Department have informal or formal discussions with the President of that Confederation regarding proposed tax increases prior to the meeting.

(3) Have discussions regarding the subject been undertaken between him or his Department and the Department of Primary Industry or the Minister for Primary Industry.

(4) Has his attention been drawn to a letter to the Courier-Mail, dated 13 December 1984, from Mr Graham Pike, President of the Australian Recreational Fishing Confederation, which states that the Confederation was constituted earlier in 1984, and is supported strongly by the Commonwealth Government; if so, does he endorse this view.

Mr John Brown —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) No.

(2) No.

(3) No.

(4) The Australian Recreational Fishing Confederation was formed in response to the need to have a unified national body representing Australia's recreational fishers-and as a Confederation survey has shown, there are some five million of them. Fishing, according to the survey, is Australia's biggest outdoor sport, contributing in excess of $2.2 billion a year to the Australian economy. That is a very big industry and has obvious significant ramifications for tourism as well as for the healthy and wholesome outdoor life of millions of Australians. This Government has recognised the national importance of fishing as a sport and outdoor past-time and actively supported the formation of the Australian Recreational Fishing Confederation which is greatly assisting in fishing's development. The Government is continuing, through the Australian Sports Commission, to support the Confederation.