Fishing is part of the Australian way of life. It gives fishers a chance to catch up with their mates. It gets young people away from their computer screens, pursuing a wonderful outdoor sport. It improves physical and mental health. Whether on coastal or inland waterways, it gives people a chance to catch fresh produce and cook something special for their families.
Yet like many Australian traditions, recreational fishing is under siege. The rise of green-ideology and bureaucratic meddling has buried fishers in red tape. It’s a classic case of governmental ‘mission creep’: public servants sitting around, trying to justify their roles by inventing new regulations and restrictions.
Incredibly, the National Party and Liberals have gone down this path. As with their 2016 greyhound ban, the proposal for 25 new Fishing Lock-Out Zones along the NSW coast was a case of the Coalition doing the work of the Greens.
Pauline Hanson’s One Nation strongly supports great Australian lifestyle activities like fishing. We thoroughly reject green-ideology and bureaucratic ‘mission creep’. We believe in fishing self-management with minimal government oversight.
We trust in the people pursuing their sport and recreation to act responsibly. It’s time to let adults be adults, to roll back Nanny State restrictions on fishing in NSW.
We can understand why places like the Great Barrier Reef need marine protection. But otherwise government is deluding itself if it thinks it can tightly control the seas and rivers whilst allowing the clearing of riparian and adjacent habitats, out-of-control foreshore development, urban stormwater runoff, dumping of sewage at sea, modified water flows in our bays, estuaries and rivers. Look what they have done to the Murray Darling.
It’s ridiculous for an island continent like Australia to be importing 70 percent of its seafood products – another argument for stronger domestic fishing rights and self-management. One Nation wants to help the viability of commercial fishers and reduce Australia’s reliance on imports.
In NSW, the attacks on recreational fishing need to be reversed, with a new aggressive political campaign aimed at self-management. Fishers have excellent associations like the Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW, Australian Fishing Trade Association and strong local fishing clubs. They should be empowered to look after their sport and allow fishers to get on with the enjoyment of their recreation, free from Green-Nanny-State-Government. We need to reform the way we manage fisheries in NSW.
There are scores of fishing regulations One Nation opposes, in fact, too many to list. Instead, let us outline the main policy directions we will follow if elected to NSW Parliament on March 23, especially if we have the balance of power.
Here is One Nation’s 10-Point Plan:
Unequivocal opposition to the Government’s proposed 25 Fishing Lock-Out Zones. Plus there should be a 10-year moratorium on the creation of new marine parks – providing certainty into the future.
All Marine Parks legislated under the Marine Park Act should be abolished and new independent regional bodies established to manage recreational fishing. No recreational fishers should be excluded from any marine park or sanctuary zone.
One Nation has agreed to all 63 policy commitments sought by the Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW for the 2019 State election. This is another important step towards self-management.
Improved fishing infrastructure, especially boat ramps, a guarantee of free parking and maintenance of road access. There should be no more NSW Government sale of access roads essential for recreational fishing.
All monies collected from recreational fishing and boating licence fees must be returned and spent on improved facilities and access for the sport. Fishing should not be cross-subsidising other, unrelated forms of government expenditure.
Closure of the Southern Fish Trawl restricted fishery, as per the agreement being reached between commercial and recreational interests. The Commonwealth should pay existing dual-licensed operators an ex-gratia payment on surrender of their NSW endorsement.
Declaration of Sydney Harbour as a Recreational Fishing Haven with improved environmental quality and fishing access across the waterway.
A thorough review of fishing regulations in NSW, with a target of reducing the regulatory burden on fishers by 90 percent – a vital step towards self-management.
Abolishing the Rock Fishing Safety Act, including compulsory life-jacket regulations for rockfishers in NSW. Fishers know their locations and safety requirements far better than politicians and public servants.
Establishing a sound, structured Independent Statutory Authority/Body to support and benefit the Recreational Fishing Community across NSW into the future that would provide long overdue efficiency, transparency and accountability.