MEDIA RELEASE - Labor demands immediate release of Barclay Report

The NSW Labor Opposition has demanded the NSW Berejiklian Barilaro Government immediately release the independent assessment of the socio-economic impacts of the Commercial Fisheries Business Adjustment Program (the Barclay Report), which was due by the end of December 2019. Shadow Minister for Primary Industries Jenny Aitchison MP has accused the Minister for Agriculture of a lack of transparency around the commercial fishing reforms and says the report must be released immediately in light of the Minister’s announcement today of further changes to the industry. “What is the Minister hiding? Why won’t he release the Barclay Report? Why is he going down the path of more reforms when he won’t tell us the socio-economic impacts of the last ones," Ms Aitchison said. “Commercial fishers have been dragged along a chaotic and devastating botched reform process by this Government. Now they want fishers to trust the Government will listen to them as the Minister seeks to change more fishing regulations?" Ms Aitchison accused the Minister of failing to consult effectively with the industry. “We’ve seen the Minister dragging his feet on filling vacancies on the Commercial Fishing Advisory Council (Commfish) which stopped them being able to meet and provide advice to the Minister. The Minister didn’t convene a meeting of Commfish until 25 February this year. “If the Minister wants to gag the Commercial Industry for nearly a year, what hope do ordinary grass roots commercial fishers have that the Minister will listen to them? “The Minister only provided a waiver for commercial fishing management fees yesterday, after Labor called for the waiver over a month ago. However the waiver came too late, as the deadline for the fees to be paid was 28 February 2020. Now those fishers who have paid their fees, scraped together the money have got no cashflow assistance as the money will be held as a credit to the Government. “Adam Marshall is a Minister who is out of touch, and can’t be trusted to consult properly with industry. “We all want to see a reduction in red tape for commercial fishers, but all this Government wants to see is a reduction in the number of commercial fishers. “The Minister should immediately release the Barclay Report as a sign of good faith to the industry, so commercial fishers and the rest of the community can understand the impact of the reforms. “What is the point of a consultation, if the community is not aware of the recommendations of the Barclay Report?”

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