The NSW Labor Opposition has slammed the Liberal-National Government for failing to acknowledge the crippling effect that the devastating bushfires and ongoing drought are having on those in the commercial fishing sector.
Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall recently announced that the Government will once again waive all Local Land Services (LLS) rates to provide relief for farmers but not struggling commercial fishers.
NSW Labor Shadow Minister for Primary Industries Jenny Aitchison has today called on the Minister to extend a lifeline to the fishing industry as well.
“Fishers up and down the coast who have already been affected by the drought have now had their businesses gutted by the fires,” Ms Aitchison said.
“I have spent the past two weeks visiting towns on the South and Mid-North Coast and I am hearing first-hand from those affected.
“Just yesterday I spoke with a commercial fisher on the Mid-North Coast who has been unable to fish since the fires in November last year due to not being able to access his boat and the recently reported fish kills."
Ms Aitchison noted that during the 2017 commercial fishing reform process the NSW Government announced that they would waive boat licence fees for commercial fishers which provided significant savings for them, but there has been nothing since then.
“NSW commercial fishers haven’t had the luxury of a rates holiday as has been offered to our drought-stricken farmers. Our commercial fishers deserve the same lifeline,” Ms Aitchison said.
“The Minister seems to be spruiking about grants to local organisations in his Northern Tablelands electorate, how about throwing these struggling commercial fishers a life buoy?”