Fishermen launch action against Gladstone Ports Corporation
MORE than 20 fishermen have launched a class action against the Gladstone Ports Corporation, to secure more compensation for the loss of their fishing grounds.
The legal action is the second case led by fisherman Trevor Falzon against the State Government-owned Gladstone Ports Corporation.
It follows a previous case which was rejected on a technicality last year.
It centres on the Coordinator-General's approval conditions for the Western Basin dredging project, which demand the port provide compensation for the loss of local fishing grounds affected by the project.
The port has had a compensation process open for several months, but Mr Falzon and around 20 other fishermen are challenging whether the program has offered enough.
Mr Falzon described the compensation offered as "peanuts"; with payments offered to fishermen, crabbers and trawler operators ranging from $200 to $50,000.
He said the Western Basin dredging project had forced him out of the fishing business and for two years he had been forced to seek other work to maintain his mortgage payments.
"You're dealing with a $60 billion industry that has literally stuffed our industry up," he said.
Mr Falzon said the port also had confined the area for which compensation should have been offered, excluding vital fishing grounds from adequate compensation for their losses.
He said GPC had only offered compensation for four smaller areas of the harbour, rather than the entire area that was affected by the massive dredging project.
"The ports corporation only want to pay us out for four of those (grid areas), but the Coordinator-General said any commercial fisherman that have been interrupted will be compensated for," he said. "We should be compensated for the whole area."
The ports corporation did not respond to requests for comment.