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Neville and Boswell urge RAP applications to be in by April 30

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Neville and Boswell Urge RAP Applications To Be In By April 30 Friday, 24 February 2006

Leader of The Nationals in the Senate, Ron Boswell, and Member for Hinkler, Paul Neville, said today that a meeting attended by Senator Boswell last night in Cairns with land-based businesses affected by the Great Barrier Reef RAP fishing closures and representatives of the Department of Environment and Heritage highlighted the importance of local businesses getting their grant applications in by the closing date. “The closing date for structural adjustment applications was extended out by the Minister to the 30th of April and his representatives at the meeting made the point that this lodgement deadline was very likely to remain,” Senator Boswell said. “NQ Land Based Industries representatives have acknowledged that, with the release of the Hunt report at the end of 2005, there is now a process in place which can be followed through in order to get a fair outcome with regard to grants and I urge all affected businesses and their advisers to make sure grant applications are received by QRAA by the closing date.” “Of 20 applications lodged on behalf of NQ Land Based Businesses, 6 have been approved so far and none have been rejected, so there is certainly movement in getting people through the process.” Mr Neville said that there was still work to be done to make sure that affected businesses received adequate grants to restructure so they could continue to trade and be successful in the future. “Bozzie and I know the issues that have arisen with regard to taxation of these grants. It is a complicated issue, but one which will need addressing before this matter can be put to bed for local fishermen and the businesses supported by their industry.” “We are also aware that there is continued concern in the fishing and related industries about certainty for the future with regard to the management of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. This is currently being addressed through an Inquiry set up by government in response to the poor management of the RAP closures.” Both Mr Neville and Senator Boswell said that the affected fishermen and businesspeople were frustrated and needed their issues dealt with urgently. “Many of these businesspeople have been holding their breath for 18 months and it is now up to us to get this process right and give them some breathing space,” Mr Neville said.