MEDIA RELEASE - Government must come clean on commercial fishing review

NSW Labor is calling for clarity on an independent assessment into the Government’s disastrous commercial fishing reforms, with many operators still struggling to stay afloat after the restructure. The recently released Barclay Review, which was 18 months overdue, is damning of the Government’s Commercial Fisheries Business Adjustment Program (BAP) and raises serious questions about transparency and the consultation process. But there are also numerous inconsistencies in the figures in the report, compared to those previously provided by the Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall and the Department of Primary industries. Through the Upper House’s ‘Call for Papers’, Labor is seeking all advice, correspondence, documentation and data relating to the Barclay Review to lift the Government’s veil of secrecy surrounding this issue - and the reform which has put the fishing industry at risk. The Shadow Minister for Primary Industries Jenny Aitchison said: “The reforms on catch quotas and fishing vessels were meant to make the industry more viable, but they’ve had the opposite effect." “Livelihoods have been destroyed as a result of this botched reform. Commercial fishers deserve to know what the review was based on and why the Government failed to support all of its recommendations," Ms Aitchison said. “There are too many inconsistencies in what has been reported to the Parliament and what is in the report. The Minister and the Department appear to be reluctant to reveal their interactions with the researchers - what is the Minister hiding?" A number of commercial fishers have contacted Ms Aitchison’s office to share their disappointment in the Government’s response to the report and their lack of action.