Ms Phoebe Smith
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
PO Box 500
East Melbourne Vic 8002

Via email:

Dear Ms Smith,

Re: Submission to the Goulburn Murray Trade Rule Review

The Australian Fishing Trade Association (AFTA) is the peak Recreational Fishing Industry body representing the Manufacturing, Wholesale, Retail & Media businesses of the Australian recreational fishing industry and therefore through the face to face engagement, the RecFishers across Australia.

Our industry receives feedback daily from RecFishers, this is what shapes our industry and our policies.

Nationally the recreational fishing industry is made up of approximately 60 Australian Manufacturers (300 employees), 60 Wholesalers (600 employees) and 2000 Retailers (100000 employees) [1]  servicing the needs of approximately 3,362,990  RecFishers[2] of which approximately 1,000,000 are Victorian.  This does not take into account the downstream employment numbers through the flow on effect spreading to the whole of the community, not just the tourism sector which provide an estimated economic benefit to Victoria of $7.1b p.a.[3]

AFTA has fought long and hard for responsible fisheries and environmental management plans for estuarine, offshore and inland waters throughout Australia and as such we see that the review of the Goulburn-Murray Trade Rule as important to the sustainability, both environmentally and economically for the many communities who depend on the quality and quantity of flows into our river systems to maintain the rivers health.

AFTA fully support the submission of the Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) and do not intend to repeat the quality arguments they have included in their submission.

In my previous role as Federal Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment (2015), with the responsibility for the National Water Plan and the MDBA, I regularly visited and engaged with the many communities and businesses dependent on these river systems.  I acknowledge the competing interests from every sector of the community, including the federal Government Environmental Water flows, however the overall health of the river system should not be based on a winner takes all basis.

To protect and ensure the sustainability of native fish species and the dependant flora and fauna, the peak river flows must be capped and designed as much as possible emulate the original flow patterns and seasonal runs.

Should you wish to discuss this further, please feel free to contact myself on 0419 694620 .

15 May 2020

The Hon Bob Baldwin
Australian Fishing Trade Association (AFTA)
PO Box 3119,
Loganholme QLD 4129

[1] These are conservative estimates based on AFTA industry feedback.

[2] Productivity Commission report into Marine Fisheries and Aquaculture, Chapter 4, Table 4.1 Estimates of State-wide participations on recreational fishing

[3] Ernst and Young Study 2014