AFTA Analysis

The NSW election is on the 25th of March and it is disappointing that the 2 major parties held back until Pre-Poll voting commenced on the 18th of March to release their party’s policies. Recreational fishers deserve to know what the next government has instore for recreational fishers so they can make informed decisions about what is in their best interests.

All Politicians should remember that in NSW 1 in 5 people participate in recreational fishing and that delivers $3.9 billion to the NSW economy, and we will not be taken for granted.

Whilst there is general agreement that there are currently not many detrimental policy issues on hand, there is always room for improvement.

As a comparative policy base benchmark AFTA put the following issues to all political parties for consideration ahead of their policy document release:

1. Establishing the NSW Women in Recreational Fishing program (WIRF). This program originated in Victoria and has now spread to Qld, a very successful program of engagement and inclusion and should be part of any inclusive policy.

Only Labor has directly addressed and supported this initiative.

Coalition   Labor  One Nation   SFF Party

2. The need for increased Western Sydney fishing access. This became very evident during the COVID lockdown experience when people of the west were confined to their LGA. For a population about the same as the rest of NSW, increasing the local fishing opportunities for Western Sydney in Dams & Reservoirs will create more options and opportunities which means more tackle sold in that area.

The Coalition has made this a key component of their policy, One Nation & SFF support this policy to differing levels. Labor has not mentioned the policy, yet greater fishing opportunity access for people in the Western Suburbs will only increase participation in our sport. 

Coalition   Labor   One Nation   SFF Party

3. Jewfish fishery management, we need a proper harvest-sharing process that begins with reviewing commercial netting practices and overall compliance.

Not addressed, but SSF raise resource sharing.


Coalition   Labor  One Nation   SFF Party

4. Action on the Great Lakes – Port Stephens Marine Park, a well and truly overdue review.

Not addressed by Labor or Coalition, only One Nation & SSF raise Marine Parks.


Coalition   Labor  One Nation   SFF Party

5. The establishment of the next round of Recreational Fishing Havens – just like the last round funded by a loan that the Recreational Fishing Licence fees paid off.

Not addressed by Labor or Coalition, in part only One Nation & SSF raise the issue.


Coalition    Labor  One Nation    SFF Party

6. Increase the number of hatcheries and a dedicated marine hatchery to help recruit and stock important recreational species. While current stocking is coming out of the research hatcheries it is nowhere near the levels needed to make a real difference and boost the RFH stocks.

Not addressed by Coalition and only in part by Labor.  One Nation & SSF support the issue.


Coalition   Labor  One Nation   SFF Party

7. Improving the quality and surety of access in rural and riverine areas. Currently, it’s a multi-departmental minefield and, by default, locks up a lot of areas that should be accessible to our customers. Victoria does this very well with the recent legislative changes allowing access to leasehold waterfront land.

Not addressed by Coalition, & Labor.  One Nation & SSF support the issue to varying degrees.

Coalition   Labor  One Nation    SFF Party

8. Addressing the Qld Spanish Mackerel decision and the potential impacts on NSW with pressure from QLD to close our fishery in line with the QLD DPI.

Not addressed by any of the Parties.

Coalition    Labor   One Nation   SFF Party


Only the Coalition has mentioned an actual spending commitment with a $25 Million upgrade package across the state’s waterways and regions, $20 million will be spent upgrading boat ramps and building new fishing facilities including platforms, kayak ramps, parking, access paths, fish cleaning tables and interactive signage across the state.

An additional $5.5 million will be committed to open up more waterways in Western Sydney for recreational use and to boost fishing facilities, including in the Penrith Lakes Parkland, and along the Georges and Parramatta Rivers.

It is important to note that this funding is “new” money from Consolidated Revenue and not drawn from recreational fishing license fees.

Labor, One Nation & SFF will audit/review the Recreational Fishing Trust (RFT) and its spending.  AFTA’s concern as advised to all parties is the use of RFT money spent on items such as funding Fisheries Compliance Officers, finding that should come from consolidated revenue.

Coalition   Labor  One Nation   SFF Party


All submitted policies are available at:

Liberal/National Coalition:

Labor Party:

One Nation:

Shooters Fishers & Farmers:

AFTA sincerely thanks the current government for having strongly supported AFTA through the 5 Phases of the NSW Schools’ “Let’s Go Fishing” Educational Program and the soon-to-be-released “Let’s Fish NSW” engagement program.

Whoever forms government must continue with these great programs.

There will be a lot of work and engagement over the next 4-year term to build our industry, we wish all candidates the best.

The Hon. Bob Baldwin
Independent Chair