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Liberals Must Heed Productivity Commission Warning

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Thursday, 1 September 2016

Tags: Fish Farms, East Coast, Environment, Marine Environment

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Environment spokesperson

The Productivity Commission’s draft Report on Marine Fisheries and Aquaculture has identified serious community concern about the poor management of environmental and social impacts of aquaculture in Tasmania. It points the finger of blame at the State Government's novel regulation of the industry. 

The Commission states that the perceived conflict stems from the responsibility for both the regulation and development of the industry resting with a single Minster and Department. They recommend separating these regulatory and development functions.

The Productivity Commission Report shows just how far the community think we really are from Minister Rockliff's "world’s best regulated fish farm industry".

The Primary Industries Minister recently made a small change and moved the management of existing fish farms out of the Marine Farming Branch and into the EPA.

Unfortunately, the Department facilitating the industry’s expansion still retains responsibility for assessing it. It’s still the same Minister maintaining ultimate control of all aspects of fisheries management. 

When one Department and Minister has the job of promoting the industry and regulating it, there's ample room for conflicts of interest. It’s public interest that comes a distant second. 

The Hodgman Government needs to heed the Productivity Commission's warnings if it’s serious about supporting sustainable growth in our aquaculture industry. They must realise responsible regulation and science are the friend of industry growth.

If he wants to counter the growing view that the Liberal Government is deaf to community and environmental concerns, Minister Rockliff must apply an independent and rigorous regulatory framework.