Gulaptis slams fishing industry reforms
A NSW Government proposal to reform the fishing industry will be devastating and must be rejected says the Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis.
Speaking after Thursday's meeting between Clarence fishers and the NSW Department of Primary Industry he said he fully supports Clarence Valley fishermen in their rejection the reforms.
The meeting of 104 local fishermen voted unanimously to reject a reform package that has been developed over two years of consultation between the department and industry members.
"In its current form it would devastate the industry in the Clarence," he said. "It's also deeply disappointing that it has taken two years of so-called consultation to reach this point."
Mr Gulaptis said it was also frustrating he had bought the Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, to the Clarence twice to discuss the issue with the local fishing industry and it seemed every one of their suggestions had been ignored.
"All the time we were told the impact of the reforms would not be as great as anticipated," he said.
"The fact of the matter is that is not as bad as anticipated. It is worse.
"I was told there were two years of exhaustive consultations with the industry.
"Clearly they were not exhaustive because they were not bothered with the concerns of fishermen."
Mr Gulaptis said there could be only one outcome for the reform process in the Clarence. "I want it stopped. There is no benefit for any fishermen here," he said. "All it can do is send the local industry to the wall."
Mr Gulaptis said the reforms were too theoretical in their approach and did not take into consideration the input from the industry.
"This is what happens bureaucratic number crunchers ignore people's real life experience," he said.
Clarence River Fishermen's Cooperative general manager Danielle Adams said she was proud of the way the fishermen had stood up for their industry.
"It was great to see so many of them make it to the meeting and the way they stood shoulder to shoulder against the reforms."
Ms Adams said the reform proposals have been rejected at every meeting between the DPI and fishers. "Ballina rejected the proposals and they will meet with the Tweed guys tomorrow." She said local fishermen will meet today to discuss a positive proposal they could take to the Minister.