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Friday, 30 March 1984
Page: 1012

(Question No. 701)

Senator Peter Rae asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice, on 7 March 1984:

(1) Is the Minister for Primary Industry aware of the article in the Australian Agricultural Reporter, volume 1, No. 3, in relation to the fishing industry in Tasmania and the granting of a fishing licence to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

(2) Is the Government considering granting a licence to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to fish waters off Tasmania.

(3) Have talks taken place between the Department of Primary Industry and the Tasmanian Government on this issue.

(4) What is the current state of development of this issue.

Senator Walsh —The Minister for Primary Industry has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) Yes. The article contains a number of inaccuracies.

(2) No.

(3) The Commonwealth Government has not conducted any negotiations with Soviet interests for the exploitation of fisheries in the Australian fishing zone. Preliminary approaches have been put to the Commonwealth Government by two Australian firms regarding joint arrangements involving Soviet vessels operating in the Australian fishing zone. As is usual with fishing venture proposals the current, published, scientific assessment of our marine resources has been made available to and discussed with representatives of the respective firms and the Soviet Government. The Tasmanian Government and other relevant State Governments have been kept fully informed of these matters at all times. No foreign fishing in the Australian fishing zone will be countenanced where this would be detrimental to Australia's interests. The facts of the matter are set out in my press releases of 30 November, 5 December and 7 December 1983.

(4) There have been no further developments in this matter since the issue of these press releases.