Following meetings with North Coast Nationals MPs, including Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams, NSW Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson has agreed to extend the submission period on the Commercial Fisheries Reform Program.
Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams said, "I understand that a number of local commercial fishers have concerns about the draft proposal for reforms to their industry.
“I have met with a number of commercial fishers in our area and arranged for them to also meet with Minister Hodgkinson earlier this year to discuss their concerns about the reforms and the future of the industry.
“I understand the significance of the State's commercial fishing industry and its importance to coastal economies like those on the Mid North Coast.
“There is a level of angst and uncertainty among parts of the industry about the reform program which is why Minister Hodgkinson has now agreed to extend the submission period until the end of May.
“As with any issues in the Port Macquarie electorate, I will always make sure that locals get every opportunity to have their voices heard.
“If any commercial fishers in my electorate still have concerns they need to contact my office immediately and I will arrange for their issues to be investigated,” Mrs Williams said.
Ms Hodgkinson said the consultation period has been extended to 30 May, to allow more time for commercial fishers to prepare a submission.
“Before finalising the options papers, NSW Fisheries will comprehensively study the range of views put forward during the consultation process, to try to make these options as fair as possible,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
“It is important that fishers advise how they believe the options could be best modified or improved.
“The NSW Government has dedicated $16 million to assist those commercial fishers wanting to leave the industry to do so, in the form of exit grants.
“The NSW Government is committed to securing a sustainable, viable and healthy fisheries and it is essential we make the necessary decisions to achieve that goal.”
The reform option papers and further information regarding the Commercial Fisheries Reform Program can be found at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries/commercial/reform.
Posted on 8 Thu, May, 2014
by Leslie Williams