‘A mockery’: Fishers overlooked in Western Rock Lobster consultation process

10-Jan-2019 1:00 PM

Seafood Industry Australia (SIA), the national peak-body representing the Australian seafood industry, has blasted the West Australian Government for providing an inadequate public consultation process for their proposed Western Rock Lobster (WRL) package.

BACKGROUND: Resource security dealt a fatal blow
 

“Despite assurances of an adequate consultation process on the Lobster Package was not publicised or released to industry until yesterday (January 9),” SIA CEO Jane Lovell said.
 

“Feedback closes on January 18 and quite frankly this is far too short a timeframe for consideration of such significant changes to this important industry.   
 

“The decision by the Labor Government to take control of more than 17 per cent of the WRL fishery has the potential to dramatically devalue the entire industry, and has significant negative repercussions on property rights nationally, not just within the seafood industry.
 

“The ramifications of the move by the West Australian Government to grant itself fishing quota are already being felt in other states. We are hearing of loss of confidence, loss of investment, and increasing stress and mental health implications.
 

“An appropriate public consultation period on the proposed changes to the WRL was promised, however this has not been the case. It has been impossible for people to provide feedback until just now, making a mockery of the proper consultation process. Such a short timeframe for comment, and at a time of the year when many people are holidaying, sounds like the Government really doesn’t want any feedback.
 

“This plan sets a very worrying national precedent. The government must grant the time for an appropriate consultation and feedback process, which allows for comment from the impacted stakeholders, the public and Australia’s entire commercial fishing industry.  We really don’t understand what the rush is.
 

“SIA is concerned about this level of government intervention and we will continue to watch developments closely. If this can happen here, we worry which industry will be next? Governments are there to govern, not to become commercial entities competing with business.
 

“SIA urges impacted fishers and the community to provide feedback by email lobsterpackage@dpird.wa.gov.au by 4pm (AWST), Friday, January 18.
 

“SIA again asks the McGowan Government to reconsider this package and the rush to push it through, listen to industry and work with us to find a better way forward for everyone.”
 

<ENDS