UPDATE: 14th May, 2022

“People demand greater policy transparency, hiding and playing the small target just doesn’t cut it!”

The Federal election will be held just a few days away on May 21st, with Pre-Poll voting well underway.  This is the third of the weekly AFTA updates on the election analysis, and the difference between the major Political Parties is now becoming quite distinct and somewhat alarming.

While the Prime Minister’s launch of the Liberal/National Policy platform is on Sunday, the Liberal & National Party’s Policy for recreational fishing has been published. It is contained within their policy.

The Coalition has committed to:

  • ensure that no fisheries solely managed by the Commonwealth will be overfished and deliver security of access to fishing rights for the recreational and wild-catch sectors, including amending the cancellation provisions in the Fisheries Management Act 1991
  • maintain our robust Australian Marine Park network in its current form, providing certainty to our fishers. 
  • deliver resource sharing agreements for key recreational species and assist in designing the principles of resource sharing allocation for stocks managed by the jurisdictions through the National Fisheries Plan.

In addition, in their statement the Coalition has committed to:

  • an additional $20 million to the successful Recreational Fishing and Camping Facilities Program.

In all honesty, the Coalition has been absolutely transparent on where they stand on Recreational Fishing, with the Prime Minister openly stating his support for recreational fishing and ruling out further Lock-Outs”. Click to view PM video here. 

The Coalition has very publicly addressed the consortiums issues of concern:

  • Marine Parks Management Plans (No further lock-out changes)
  • Resource Sharing of Fish Stocks (agree to proper resource sharing)
  • Committed $20m for fisheries infrastructure

Even though a plan is in place, the Coalition has failed to adequately address the invasive species issue timeframe, e.g., Carp and Tilapia.

For this, we offer the Coalition a scorecard of 8/10.

In stark contrast, whilst the Labor Party has offered a letter from Josh Wilson MP, Shadow Assistant Minister for the Environment, ruling out changes to the Marine Park Management Plan; there is no mention of that statement within the Labor Oceans & Marine Parks policy document, and it reads of quite a different intention. 

It is important to note that the Labor Party have not publicly released the Josh Wilson letter nor referred to the letter in any Labor policy statements.  

The AFTA/SIA/BIA/ARRF consortium (ASBA) offered Labor Leader Anthony Albanese the opportunity to publish a video supporting recreational fishing; sadly, that offer was rejected.  This raises concerns that Labour is hiding their intentions from either the Recreational Fishers or the Environmental lobby or both.     

It is also noted that ASBA, despite many requests, is yet to receive any reply or policy statement on Recreational Fishing from The Hon. Julie Collins MP, Shadow Minister for Agriculture; again, this is most disappointing for the 5 million  Recfishers across Australia.  

The Labor Party has not published an election policy at all for fishing to date!  ASBA hope Labor are not saying one thing to Recfishers and quite the opposite to the green movement in pursuit of votes!

There has been no commitment from Labor on:

  • Fair resource Sharing of Fish Stocks (not addressed)
  • Addressing the invasive species issue (not addressed)
  • No $$ investment into fishing infrastructure (not addressed)

AFTA is somewhat concerned that the Labor Party are taking a small target approach and may refuse to be held to the letter of the Assistant Shadow Minister in relation to Commonwealth Marine Parks as it is not stated within their published policy.

 For this, we offer the Labor Party a scorecard of 2/10.

AFTA thanks all of you for being a part of the democratic process and helping to deliver a better platform for recreational fishers across Australia.  As you go to the poll, please make your own mind up on what you expect of a government in support of your passion, fishing, and vote as you see fit.

Tight Lines …..

Click here to read AFTA’s Keeping You Updated Week Two; released on the 9th of May, 2022.

Click here to read AFTA’s Keeping You Updated Week One; released on the 2nd of May, 2022.