More Time For Commercial Fisheries Reforms

More Time For Commercial Fisheries Reforms

Member for Port Macquarie, Leslie Williams MP has today welcomed the NSW Government’s decision to allow the independent Structural Adjustment Review Committee (SARC) more time to consider the Commercial Fisheries Reform Program.

Mrs Williams said she was pleased the NSW Government has heard the concerns of commercial and recreational fishers from the Port Macquarie and Hastings area.

“This is an immensely difficult reform in a segmented sector – it is highly complex and there are no easy solutions,” Mrs Williams said.

“While the NSW Government is committed to delivering the Commercial Fisheries Reform Program, it is important it is done once and is done right.

“During the past months I have met with a number of fishers, some whom want them reforms to go ahead, but the majority have expressed concerns about specific options in the reform papers and I have encouraged them to make submissions.

“I have also arranged for a number of fishers to meet with the Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson to discuss their concerns,” Mrs Williams said.

“The viability of the NSW commercial fishing industry has declined for various reasons and the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government is committed to supporting this sector.

“This reform is for the long term – it is important that it is done right once to ensure the ongoing viability of the commercial fishing industry into the future.

“The independent SARC will now have enough time to adequately review the options papers and the more than 750 submissions received and to undertake further targeted consultation with industry before finalising recommendations to the NSW Government.”

Mrs Williams said the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government commissioned an independent review in 2011, involving a team of fisheries management experts which found that the industry required reform. This review found that an inflexible and inappropriate management system, burdened by excess allocation of access rights continues to prevent industry self-adjustment.

“The NSW Government and industry has allocated $16 million to a structural adjustment package, which will be quarantined for the Commercial Fisheries Reform Program until this process is finalised.”

“The other important news is the NSW Government’s decision to put in place a three-year cap on commercial fisheries management charges, which will reduce the financial burden on shareholders.

“This cap will provide some temporary certainty and stability as the reform program proceeds,” Mrs Williams said.

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