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$15 million that didn't get away: Coalition to extend recreational fishing community grants programme.

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- MEDIA RELEASE - SENATOR THE HON. ERIC ABETZ Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation Manager of Government Business in the Senate

Media enquiries:

AE0714 6 th November 2007

$15 million that didn’t get away Coalition to extend Recreational Fishing Community Grants Programme

A re-elected Coalition Government would commit $15 million to extend the highly successful Recreational Fishing Community Grants Programme for a further three years.

Australian Fisheries and Conservation Minister, Senator Eric Abetz, said grants of up to $100,000 will be available under the programme for projects that enhance the quality and safety of recreational fishing experiences.

“Recreational fishing is one of Australia’s favourite pastimes, with over three million people wetting a line annually”, Senator Abetz said.

“This programme is all about providing practical support to recreational fishing and community groups to make a day on the water even more enjoyable”

Activities funded under the Recreational Fishing Community Grants Programme in the past include:

• Construction of fishing access platforms and pathways; • Construction of fish cleaning and boat wash down facilities; • Improvements to jetties and boat ramps; • Restocking and resnagging of waterways; • Promoting responsible fishing practices

Senator Abetz said the funding would also provide an important boost to regional economies.

“Recreational fishing is not only great for families and great for your health, it’s a significant - and often underrated - contributor to many regional economies.

“From mum, dad and the kids throwing in a line off the local jetty, to serious sport fishermen chasing big gamefish, recreational anglers make a massive contribution to many regional economies.

“These grants will help provide the necessary infrastructure, facilities and services to keep Australia’s favourite pastime healthy”

Brad Stansfield 0419 884 666

A total of 400 projects were funded under the first round of RFCGP, including in all States and Territories.

Funding included: • $4.4 million to assist with the upgrading or construction of boat ramps, fishing platforms and jetties; • $2.8 million in the improvement of rescue facilities and in raising community

awareness of responsible fishing practices; and • 34 projects to upgrade rescue vessel equipment, and install an additional 198 life-saving Angel Rings nationwide.

Senator Abetz said if re-elected the Coalition would make the first call for applications under the new programme within three months of re-election.