Re: 2020 Queensland Election Policies

Thank you for your correspondence regarding the Australian Fishing Trade Association’s (AFTA) aspirations and 2020 Queensland Election Policies.

The Liberal National Party (LNP) is a strong supporter of Queensland’s fishing industry which is a significant contributor to the state’s economy. We appreciate the important role that AFTA members and the broader recreational fishers play in our community and commend the fishing industry’s significant contribution in creating thousands of jobs throughout the state.

This election is more important than simply determining who will lead Queensland through its first fixed four-year Parliamentary term. It is about Queensland’s future and who is best placed to guide us through the biggest economic crisis in almost a century.

LNP’s economic plan

The LNP has a bold vision to make Queensland the economic powerhouse of Australia once again; the best place to get a job and get ahead. An LNP government will implement our economic plan for a decade of secure jobs, to get Queenslanders working again and lead Queensland out of the recession by stimulating the economy.

Unlike the Palaszczuk Labor Government, the LNP has a plan to boost Queensland’s economy. While it is true that economic uncertainty has never been so widespread in Queensland, it should not be forgotten that Queensland had the nation’s highest unemployment, most bankruptcies and lowest business confidence prior to COVID-19. As such, the decision made by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to cancel this year’s budget was reckless, and with Queensland the only Australian jurisdiction to not have a budget, it means Labor is flying blind through the biggest economic crisis in almost a century.

Our vision is to make Queensland the economic powerhouse of Australia once again, the best place to get a job, get ahead and raise a family.

The LNP’s plan will get Queensland working again.

Our plan for a stronger economy and secure jobs is based on four foundations:

  • investing for growth
  • unleashing Queensland industry
  • supercharging the regions
  • securing our children’s future

The LNP is the only party that has a plan to create a stronger economy and more secure jobs.

LNP plan to Queensland fishing sector

The LNP’s plan is to unlock recreational and commercial fishing and get our seafood sector firing. Fishing is one of our state’s all-important and valuable economic drivers.

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington announced $8.5 million funding for new initiatives to future-proof the commercial industry, boost recreational fishing, and encourage consumers to buy more Queensland seafood.

Our plan is to secure a strong and sustainable fishing industry that is both commercially and environmentally sustainable.Thousands of jobs will be secured, and consumers will be able to choose fresh seafood caught in Queensland waters through

The LNP’s plan includes:

  • $1 million to develop, implement and market Queensland ReefSafe label and regional wild-caught labelling from Wide Bay and Whitsundays
  • $6 million voluntary licence buyback scheme to future-proof the industry. The voluntary buyback program will prioritise buying back gill net licences and other licences in Region 1 of the East Coast Inshore Fin Fish Fisher and the offshore shark fishery providing tangible environmental benefits
  • $1.5 million to construct three new artificial reefs.

These new fishing initiatives are part of the LNP’s Food and Job Security Plan to build a stronger economy and get Queensland working again.

The regional wild-caught labelling trial in the Wide Bay and Whitsundays regions, as well as the voluntary opt-in ReefSafe accreditation scheme, build upon our policy to mandate compulsory Queensland specific seafood labelling. These new labels will both increase market share for Queensland seafood and drive up value. It will directly benefit commercial fishers and seafood lovers.

The LNP has stood up for and backed Queensland’s all-important commercial and recreational fishing industries by calling out the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s dismissive treatment of this essential job creating sector.

We have committed to no new or increased taxes. We also have a plan to decrease electricity prices for manufacturers by 20%, reversing Labor’s job destroying policies which have cost 19,000 manufacturing jobs in the last two years. These two policies will save many of your members tens of thousands of dollars during the upcoming four-year term. That means tens of thousands of dollars which would have been spent on electricity bills can be invested by businesses to grow, create jobs, and stimulate Queensland’s economy.

Please see the LNP’s considered response to AFTA’s requests below:

AFTA Trade Show – An LNP Government will work with AFTA to support industry boosting measures as part of state budget deliberations, which will be delivered in the first 100 days.

Education – Recreational Fishing’s Future – An LNP Government will work with AFTA to support educational outcomes as part of state budget deliberations, which will be delivered in the first 100 days.

Let’s Fish Queensland – Queensland seafood is the best in the world and that’s why the LNP will partner with the fishing industry to trial labels for wild seafood caught in Wide Bay and the Whitsundays.

Fisheries Management – An LNP Government will work with AFTA and other industry groups to establish relevant Fisheries Advisory Committees.

The LNP will work constructively with AFTA and industry to consider the final stage of the sustainable fisheries strategy and reforms.

Marine Parks & Net Free Zones (NFZs) – The LNP has committed to not removing existing NFZs in Queensland. The LNP understands the need to balance the interests of the commercial and recreational sectors as well as the environment.

We are committed to a $6 million voluntary buyback scheme targeting licences in the Cape. It will provide an important structural adjustment to the industry, while protecting dugongs, marine turtles, and other local marine life.

The voluntary buyback program will prioritise buying back gill net licences, and other licences in Region 1 of the East Coast Inshore Fin Fish Fishery, and the offshore shark fishery.

Many basic operations of Government are at a standstill because the current Labor Government is unable to make the tough decisions.

The Great Sandy Marine Park is extremely important to both the local region and the entire state. State Governments must consider the interests of both commercial and recreational fishers as well as the environment. The current Palaszczuk Labor Government refuses to release its secret reports and reviews which would provide answers to the community’s questions.

We will work with local operators and lift the lid on Labor’s secret reports.

Bag Limits & Closures- As we are in Opposition the LNP does not have access to the relevant scientific data and information the Queensland Government relies on to undertake decisions on bag limits and quota determinations. Therefore, it would be irresponsible to make decisions without the relevant information.

However, I can guarantee that any decisions will be based on sound and sensible scientific advice.

Light Weight Crab Pots – The LNP welcomes an opportunity in Government to work with AFTA, industry, and the community to consider the future of light weight crab pots in Queensland.

Qld Recreational Fishing Grants Program – An LNP Government will continue to maintain and upgrade recreational facilities & infrastructure.

The LNP has also made the following specific election commitments: 

Lytton Bring back fishing to the bay Grant to support OzFish Moreton Bay volunteers to restore local reefs $100,000
Redlands Southern Redlands Boat Ramp Jointly fund the construction of a new boat ramp for the southern Redlands with Redland City Council. $500,000
Whitsundays Car Park & Road – Boat Ramp Access To contribute to 50% of Council funding to complete road and carpark to access State Govt. funded Boat Ramp  $1,150,000
Gympie Lake Borumba Fish Stocking Association (LBFSA) Upgrade building. 20,000
Gympie Tin Can Bay Fishing Club Defibrillator & install automatic water saving garden watering system 8,000
Hervey Bay More Artificial Reefs – fishing Pontoon anchored above reef for snorkelling without need for scuba 2,200,000
Burnett Round Hill Creek Dredging Dredging of Round Hill Creek entrance to provide reliable marine access 400,000
Burnett Walker’s Point Rock Wall A rock wall to protect Walker’s Point boat ramp 200,000

 Artificial Reefs and Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) – An LNP Government has already committed $1.5 million to construct three new artificial reefs in Queensland.

The LNP will work in Government with AFTA, industry, and the community to locate these reefs and the existing FAD program.

Fishing Licence/Compulsory Registration – We have no plans to introduce a recreational fishing licence or compulsory registration.

Furthermore, a future LNP Government would be open to receiving more detailed proposals from the industry on some initiatives.

If you require further clarification or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Tony Perrett MP

Shadow Minister for Agricultural Industry Development,

Fisheries and Forestry

Member for Gympie