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Framework welcome: detail yet to come on fishing package.



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B2004/84 - Framework welcome - detail yet to come on fishing package

Leader of The Nationals in the Senate, Ron Boswell said today that he welcomed the framework for a Federal Government fishing adjustment package due to be released tomorrow, but wanted to see more details released as soon as possible to help allay the concerns of Great Barrier Reef fishermen.

“The framework to be released tomorrow is the bones of an adjustment package designed to give us nil-displacement of commercial fishing effort when new ‘green zone’ laws come into effect in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park on July 1.”

“The government has recognised that the industry will feel the pinch from changes under the Representative Areas Programme and is endeavouring to assist in keeping the industry viable and not simply squeezing the same number of boats into a smaller area,” Senator Boswell said.

“I think fishermen will agree that the framework has the potential to provide for the needs of the industry, but that they will want to see ‘flesh on the bones’ before they give their approval.”

Senator Boswell said that the cornerstone of the package would be a competitive tender-based licence buy-out scheme which would aim to remove an estimated 200 fishing licences from a range of different groups within the GBRMP fishing fleet.

“Fishermen will welcome an assurance that the amount of money to be spent is uncapped and they will want to know the detail of how those that stay in the industry can access business restructuring grants worth up to $200,000 per business, and they will need time to examine the package closely.”

Senator Boswell said that The Nationals went in to bat to get the required assistance for fishermen with the introduction of the RAP, and the announcement of the package framework tomorrow would mark a significant step toward achieving this goal.

“Our aim now is to stay in the loop, ensure that the detail is right and that commercial fishermen get the fair deal that we owe them.”

“If the detail of the package makes it possible to ensure there is no displacement of fishing effort in the Marine Park, and that those who choose to leave the industry are adequately compensated, then I am confident that fishermen will accept the package and work with the government to make the required changes in the GBRMP fishery,” he said.

ENDS

Media Contact - Paul Leven 07 3001 8150

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