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Tuesday, 10 October 1972
Page: 1391

Senator PRIMMER (VICTORIA) asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:

(1)   Will the Commonwealth Government give some consideration to the provision of compensation to those Victorian fishermen whose income will now be cut to nil, because of the ban on the sale of flake due to mercury content.

(2)   Will the Commonwealth, in conjunction with the State of Victoria, evolve some reconstruction programme for these people similar to that which applies to some other primary industries.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN-The Minister for Primary Industry has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1)   I am aware that the Victorian Government is considering the application of a ban on the marketing of school shark over a certain length because of the likelihood of mercury above the maximum permissible level being present in the flesh of large school sharks. To my knowledge the ban has not yet been applied. Rather than consider forms of compensation for the particular fishermen involved,I consider that it would be more appropriate to assist them to enter new fisheries.

(2)   Officers of my Department have already held consultations with the fisheries authorities and fishermen in Victoria and Tasmania to prepare proposals for the development of alternative fisheries. This matter has also been raised with the South Australian Government. The Commonwealth will co-operate with the Slates in implementing any such proposals which are most likely to assist these fishermen.

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