Commercial Fisheries Adjustment Program Petition
I support the petition tabled by my colleague the member for The Entrance. I support those people in the gallery and others across the fishing industry in New South Wales. It is an absolute disgrace that National Party members talk about politicising this industry while spouting rubbish across the Chamber. This is a disgrace; a wriggle and squirm. There are members in this Chamber who have refused to meet with local constituents about the issue. The member for Myall Lakes had to be reminded of the slim margin by which he won in his electorate before he would meet with his constituents. He lost 22 per cent in the last election, and he will lose more votes on the back of this issue. It is a disgrace.
Some of the people who signed this 10,000 signature petition are present in the gallery today. I congratulate them on the hard work involved to fight the Commercial Fisheries Business Adjustment Program, which should rightly be named "buy your own job". If this Government prides itself on being a friend of small business how can it support this program? It is the same Nationals Party that let down the greyhound industry and does not care about painters, hair dressers or taxi drivers. The Nationals believe that in a disrupted business environment people should be left to fight it out. There are businesses that have been in families for five generations. The Minister responded by making a disgusting and appalling comment about the small text used on the petition. I table the tiny amount of information that the Minister is providing to people for a process that will affect their whole lives.
That package is another iteration of this botched, appalling policy. The Government does not have the right to represent small business in country areas. It should be ashamed of itself. There are fishing co-ops that contribute up to $10 million to coastal villages. The multiplier effect of that is in the vicinity of $50 million, yet the Government is happy to rip that money out of cafes, service stations, mechanics and tourism operators. The Australian tourism and cooking industries rely on the fishing industry. The Government is a disgrace.