Thursday, 29 October 2015
I refer to your article (The Weekly Times October 28, page 10) by Chris McLennan “Ramsay fishing stance inflames”.
The article lurches into a head lining commentary of “going rogue” which is fine to excite readers but hardly related to the facts in the story. Mr McLennan has drawn from an adjournment speech I made in relation to the upcoming Fisheries Amendment Bill and the Andrews Government election commitment to ban commercial fish netting in Port Phillip Bay and Corio Bay.
The Coalition had a similar position leading up to the election and still does. The point of difference is that the Coalition had a 10 year buy-back plan with non-active licences voluntarily acquired, whereas the Andrews Government has shifted its position from an eight year buyout to a six year buyout then to a planned two year buyout for Corio Bay.
My question to the Parliament was with the Andrews Government accelerated buyout, what impact that would have on availability of fresh fish sales and the fair and equitable treatment of those commercial licencees whose livelihoods were to be taken away.
There is no change in policy position from the Coalition and in fact the Bill had not even been introduced at that time, but mysteriously the Government put another $8 million on the table within two days of me raising the matter.
My criticism is with the Andrews Government in its shift in policy to the timing of buyback and my concern that the commercial fishers I represent are not left high and dry.
I understand VRFish is keen to ensure the commitment by the major parties to ban netting in Port Phillip Bay and Corio Bay is kept. I have not seen any commentary that has said otherwise, mine included.
Simon Ramsay MP