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Salmon Industry


Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 7 September 2022

Tags: Fish Farms, Marine Environment

Dr WOODRUFF question to PREMIER, Mr ROCKLIFF

Tasmania's home-grown salmon industry has been gobbled up by international corporations with long records of environmental and workplace crimes. Your Government's weak environment laws are designed to keep on growing industrial salmon at any cost. You are deaf to communities calling out the filth and plastic pollution. The slime, dead zones, slaughter of protected species, loss of marine life are grist to the mill of big business. From Long Bay to Cape Barren, to your own marine backyard in the north-west, this industry is out of control.

Do you acknowledge Tasmanians who love our exquisite and fragile marine world have no options but to peacefully resist your pro-industry laws? How do you feel, that on your watch, people will be locked up for loving Tasmania and wanting to protect our environment from being trashed?

 

ANSWER

Mr Speaker, I thank Dr Woodruff for her question and I know her considerable interest in this matter.

I do not accept the premise of the question around any industry allowed to grow at any cost. Clearly, we have demonstrated that as a government. When the Greens held the balance of power between 2010 and 2014, what did you do to strengthen the regulations around the salmon industry? Very little I would have to say.

Greens members interjecting.

Mr SPEAKER - Order.

Mr ROCKLIFF - When you had control of the salmon industry, you did nothing in terms of strengthening the regulations. You wasted an opportunity, which we took up, when it comes to ensuring that the salmon industry had a strong social licence in the Tasmanian community by improving the independence of the regulation over the course of the last eight years.

Greens members interjecting.

Mr SPEAKER - Order.

Mr ROCKLIFF - In my tenure as minister for primary industries and water we had many discussions around salmon. I remember it well. It was a very volatile time in the Tasmanian salmon industry but we made significant inroads into strengthening regulation, ensuring the independence of the regulator - in other words, outside of the department -

Greens members interjecting.

Mr SPEAKER - Order.

Mr ROCKLIFF - That was achieved and a compliance regime as well, in allowing the salmon industry to -

Dr Woodruff - You just got better at spin.

Dr Broad - It is disappointing that I got kicked out for less, that was all.

Members interjecting.

Mr ROCKLIFF - We will always ensure strong biosecurity regulations to enhance finfish farming biosecurity management -

Greens members interjecting.

Members interjecting.

Mr SPEAKER - Order - and I will take Dr Broad's point. The Greens have asked a serious question of the Premier and it is therefore inappropriate, and against the Standing Orders, to continually interject on him while he is trying to answer the question. Please stop interjecting and allow the Premier to answer the question.

Mr ROCKLIFF - I have made comments in the past, and more recently, regarding our support of the mining industry, our support of foresters, our support of farmers, fishers, and those in aquaculture. We will always be in their corner but we will also be in the corner of continuous improvement. That was demonstrated when I was minister for primary industries and continues through other ministers for primary industries ensuring we have a strong compliance regime, independent regulator -

Dr Woodruff - Go and have a look at the slime in Long Bay.

Mr ROCKLIFF - and continuous improvement to ensure that not only do we maintain growth in the salmon industry and support thousands of jobs in rural and regional Tasmania -

Dr Woodruff - That are disappearing every day.

Mr SPEAKER - Dr Woodruff, order.

Mr ROCKLIFF - but also our commitment to continuous improvement. I am advised the department has consulted on three proposed standards that build on existing regulatory requirements for sustainable industry, as I have previously outlined. These proposed standards are the biosecurity regulations to enhance finfish farming biosecurity management; an environmental standard to improve the environmental regulation and ensure a contemporary monitoring and environmental management framework; and marine farming operations to ensure statewide consistency through standardised marine farming management controls across all aquaculture sectors.

The standard aims to provide a contemporary best-practice framework - which you have always wanted - through continuous improvement that ensures consistency and streamlining of regulation across all sectors, while also building on existing voluntary measures undertaken by the industry. Once finalised, ongoing compliance with the standards will be monitored by NRE Tas and the independent Environmental Protection Authority.

I understand where you want to get to. You do not want a single fish grown in Tasmania. That will never happen under this Government. We will always support a sustainable aquaculture industry. We will always support the thousands of jobs around rural and regional Tasmania, but we will also always advocate for, and support, continuous improvement.