Gladstone nets fisheries funding and officers
QUEENSLAND Fisheries will undergo the biggest reform in its history after an additional $20 million of investment was announced today.
Treasurer Curtis Pitt, Fisheries Minister Bill Byrne and Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher were on hand at the Gladstone Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol office to announce the funding, totalling $20 million over the next three years.
The announcement will employ an additional 20 Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol officers in Queensland including four full-time positions in Gladstone.
There had been no patrol officers specifically based in Gladstone since 2012.
The funding is designed to transform fisheries management in Queensland and would be funded for in this year's state budget according to Treasurer Pitt.
"This investment paves the way for Queensland to have a world class fisheries management system with serious structural reforms that supports many thousands of regional jobs," Mr Pitt said.
"The current fisheries management system is cumbersome, costly, and inflexible and is not keeping up with community expectations.
"Our funding injection will deliver more compliance officers, more monitoring, better engagement and communication and more responsive decision making."
Mr Butcher said the reopening of the Gladstone QBFP office was a win for the region.
"Local anglers have said loud and clear that it is vital that fisheries officers are based in Gladstone to protect the long-term viability of fish stocks and ensure compliance with regulations," he said.
"It was disappointing to see the Gladstone QBFP office shut down in recent years and many people asked me if it can be re-opened."
Mr Butcher said the four fisheries officers would be employed locally to tackle "fisheries compliance activities, gathering intelligence to support prosecutions and educating the community about responsible fishing".
Yesterday's announcement is part of the State Government's Sustainable Fisheries Strategy 2017-2027.
The strategy outlines 33 actions to be delivered across 10 reform areas with set targets to be achieved by 2020 and 2027.
Fisheries Minister Bill Byrne said the funding would boost patrol officer numbers by more than 20% from 89 to 109 across the state.
"We want Queensland fisheries to be sustainable, our commercial fishers to be productive and profitable and our recreational fishing experience to be second to none," Mr Byrne said.
"This will help shape our fisheries over the next 10 years and will ensure they are managed in a sustainable and responsible way to benefit of all Queenslanders."
Mr Byrne said the government did not support the introduction of recreational fishing licences at this time and indicated the reforms should be in place by September.