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Tuesday, 14 September 1971
Page: 1301

Mr Whitlam asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:

What discussions have taken place between Commonwealth and Queensland officers, what changes have been made in Commonwealth and Queensland legislation and what administrative changes have been made by the Commonwealth and Queensland in respect of fisheries in the Gulf of Carpentaria since his predecessor's answer on 15th September 1970.

Mr Sinclair:The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

Discussions between Commonwealth and Queensland fisheries officers took place in Brisbane during April and June 1971 on current developments in the Gulf of Carpentaria prawn fishery. In addition, senior fisheries officers from both Queensland and the Commonwealth were present at an open meeting convened in Cairns during December 1970 to discuss with people in the industry the future management and development of the fishery. Discussions also took place between fisheries officers at that time.

The honourable member will be aware of the contents of the Fisheries Bill now before the House and of its general relevance to the management of the northern prawn fishery. The Queensland Minister for Primary Industries has informed the Queensland Parliament of his intention to introduce an amending Fisheries Bill but the timing of that Parliamentary action is of course a matter for the Queensland Government.

The Fisheries Act 1970 is now in operation and will enable the Queensland Government to legislate to licence plants processing fish for export. I understand that appropriate provision for this will be included in the Queensland Bill.

The administrative procedures outlined on page 1170 of Hansard, 1970, continue to operate, the only variation being that boats carrying fish taken by other boats are no longer restricted by their Commonwealth licences to landing their cargoes at specified places but are free to land them at any place for subsequent transport to a processing plant. This is in accordance with the policy of facilitating the efficient and economic operations of the prawning industry.

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