Ms WOODRUFF question to MINISTER for PRIMARY INDUSTRIES and WATER, Mr ROCKLIFF
We have credible information that Tassal has, again, discovered diseased and dead salmon in the low oxygen waters of their Macquarie Harbour operations. Divers are being urgently summoned from around the state to pull those dead fish out of the water. I understand Huon Aquaculture and Petuna have not identified the same problem.
The Environmental Protection Authority is still operating under your department's delegated authority. Has you department been informed of this disturbing new threat to the environment and the biosecurity of other businesses? What action is the Environmental Protection Authority taking?
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question. I have not been advised of such a circumstance as you have outlined today in the House. Ms Woodruff, you often outline a number of things and they are not true. I will be taking advice with respect to those matters.
Ms Woodruff - I am very confident of this.
Madam SPEAKER - Order.
Mr ROCKLIFF - I will be seeking advice today with respect to your question. The Environmental Protection Authority is fully independent -
Ms Woodruff - No, it is not. You have not put the legislation up yet.
Mr ROCKLIFF - If you are questioning their independence -
Madam SPEAKER - Order. I warn the member for Franklin, Ms Woodruff. If you cannot stop yourself from constantly interjecting, I suggest you leave. The minister is entitled to answer the question.
Mr ROCKLIFF - Thank you, Madam Speaker. I am entitled to answer the question and I am entitled to defend the independence of the Environmental Protection Authority under what is an extraordinary attack from the Greens' member who is attacking the integrity of the EPA in Tasmania.
I remind the member that when her party was in government the EPA was not responsible for the environmental regulation of fish farms. They were in terms of other areas around the supply chain but not the fish farms. They are now regulating the entire supply chain, including fish farms. I expected that you might have moved as we have done when you were in government but you did not and you failed. We are strengthening regulation of the salmon industry.
We want to provide competence to the community. This is a well regulated and important industry for Tasmania -
Ms Woodruff - What about confidence for Huon Aquaculture and Petuna?
Madam SPEAKER - Order. I warn the member for Franklin, Ms Woodruff, again.
Mr ROCKLIFF - This is an important industry for Tasmania. We value the contribution to the Tasmanian economy, regional economy from the south, north-west, west and east, that the salmon industry plays for some 5000 people who are employed within the industry. Included in that are all the businesses that supply their products to the salmon industry.
Madam SPEAKER - The minister will wind-up.
Mr ROCKLIFF - I have full confidence in the EPA. It is an independent statutory authority with an independent director. I will seek some information with respect to Ms Woodruff's line of questioning but I do not accept the attack on the integrity or the independence of the EPA.