2 November 2023

Albanese Government failed to consult their own fishing bodies before banning gillnets

| Chisa Hasegawa
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Gillnet in the ocean

Warren Entsch says the Labour Government’s decision to ban gillnets will cause seafood prices to soar. Photo: Damocean.

Warren Entsch, Federal Member for Leichhardt, echoed concerns on the gillnets ban raised by Shadow Environment and Fisheries Minister Senator Jonno Duniam and Shadow Minister for Northern Australia Senator Susan McDonald at a recent Senate Estimates hearing in Canberra.

He said the Albanese Government’s mismanagement of Australia’s commercial fishing industry marks a betrayal of regional Queensland fishers and their communities.

The hearing revealed that the Federal and Queensland Labour Governments acted to ban gillnets without consulting relevant federal bodies like the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC).

“It’s incomprehensible how critical decisions are being made without even consulting the bodies specifically tasked with advising on these issues,” Mr Entsch said.

“This ill-advised gillnets ban will have severe ramifications on the cost of seafood, hitting already stretched household budgets hard. People who can’t catch their own fish shouldn’t have to pay the price for this government’s poor decisions.”

He said that Australia has some of the “most sustainably managed fisheries in the world”, and that a move to ban gillnets threatens to “push us towards sourcing unsustainable alternatives”.

“This move is purely political, showing a complete disregard for the sustainable and responsible fisheries management our local industry is known for.”

He strongly urged the Albanese Government to review the bans and to start meaningful engagement with stakeholders.

“The future of our fisheries, the livelihood of our fishers and the financial wellbeing of ordinary Australians are at stake,” he said.

Katter’s Australia Party Leader and Member for Traeger Robbie Katter also slammed the Federal Government’s involvement with UNESCO in the ban.

“We have a government that is intent on shutting down communities and shutting down industries all in the name of UNESCO and leaving behind a trail of destruction,” he said.

“It’s now up to the North Queensland Labour MPs to decide if they are going to stand by their constituents and push back on the government about this, or are they going to stand by and watch as their electorates economically shut down.”

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