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Expose Highlights Urgent Need for Salmon Industry Regulation

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Tags: Fish Farms, Environment, Jobs, Marine Environment, Threatened Species

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Environment spokesperson

The scale of revelations on last night's Four Corners exposé of the Tasmanian salmon farming industry are immense.  It exposed the State Government wilfully pushing industry expansion at the cost of long-term jobs and the marine environment.

Last night's exposé revealed the persistent refusal of government to put regulations in place for the salmon industry.  Regulations would limit fallout on the marine environment, and safeguard jobs in one of Tasmania's largest employing, regional sectors.

Primary Industries Minister, Jeremy Rockliff, is trying to sell the Liberals' promise to create a $1 billion industry regardless of the costs to Tasmanian community and the environment.  However, he's intentionally ignoring his Ministerial obligation to regulate the same industry.

Letting anyone regulate what they promote leads to clear conflicts of interest.  And, ultimately, guarantees disaster.

It's up to the Minister for Primary Industries to sign off all new developments and expansions of existing leases.  There’s no independence in this process.

Macquarie Harbour, home to the threatened Maugean Skate, is under severe stress and was described by the CEO of Huon Aquaculture as a "catastrophe" waiting to happen.

What we're seeing is environmental vandalism as a result of the salmon industry, essentially unchecked by government regulation.

What Huon Aquaculture have asked for is an even playing field and a tough umpire.  Frances Bender has begged the government to be a strong regulator for the industry.  

Minister Rockliff dismissed Ms Bender's pleas on ABC radio today as “competitive tensions”.  It's disgraceful that he won't take the concerns of a big industry player, and employer of 550 Tasmanians, seriously.

There’s only one correct response to give confidence to consumers, markets and Tasmanians who care about our environment.  Minister Rockliff must end the conflict of interest, and move responsibility for approving new farms outside of his department into an independent body.