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Wednesday, 25 November 2015
Page: 9023

Senator JACINTA COLLINS (Victoria) (17:57): Labor will vote to reinstate the night-time fishing ban on the trawler the Geelong Star. We understand this will be very disappointing to the company involved; however, the Turnbull government has failed to act to put in place the proper rounds of public consultation and to respond to the expert panel's report to ensure that the broader community can be reassured that mid trawlers the size of the Geelong Star with refrigeration capacity can fish in our pelagic fisheries without threats to the sustainability of those fisheries and indeed threats to our marine environment more generally.

When the former Labor government banned the supertrawlers for two years, it put in place requirements that an expert panel review be undertaken to look at the future of the sector. That report was delivered to the new government in October 2014. Yet the government has been sitting on that report ever since. The panel said that there were still some unanswered questions involving the risks over sub trawlers and proper risk management programs would have to be put in place if they were to be fishing sustainably. The Turnbull government has failed to respond to the experts report.

Labor has tried other pathways to deal with this issue, including a private members/senators bill and the initiation of a Senate inquiry. So the fate of the Geelong Star is in the hands of the Turnbull government. There will be people disappointed but we stand with the overwhelming majority of Australians who are very concerned about the marine environment, very concerned about the sustainability of our fishing stock and our environment more generally. Labor will stand to protect the environment and we will continue to do so unless someone presents to the industry and to the broader community a risk management plan and capacity to allow the big mid trawlers to fish without any threats to our marine environment.