Government Guts Commercial Fishos through Reform

A probity report that was found by the Auditor General to not follow process or procedure was used by this Government as a means to justify the commercial fishing reform that has decimated fishing businesses along the New South Wales coast.

         Barry and Heather Elliot of Wallis Lake with the Commercial Fishing petition tabled in Parliament by SFF Phil Donato, Member for Orange

The probity report was conducted by the same firm that dealt with the now tarnished Nucoal mining exploration licence, that ended up in ICAC.

“The City of Sydney flat out refused to use this particular firm in their probity assessments, such is their reputation.

“This very same firm also botched the probity assessment of the greyhound industry.

“Somehow this firm is good enough for the Government of NSW.

“This smell’s worse than rotting fish,” said Mr Banasiak.

A second opinion on the probity assessment was conducted that found it had been “deficient in several significant respects... specifically, it did not adequately review the conduct of the minister”.

“The reason this probity report is so significant is because there are deep harbours of inconsistencies surrounding the reform process.

“The Share Trading Scheme in particular, saw this Government make bids on fishing endorsements that inevitably left real fishermen, without the ability to stay in the market.

The Share Trading Scheme was the instrument used to reform the commercial fishing industry by forcing fishermen to make bids on shares to continue fishing at the same level they had prior to the reform.

Many of them taking out loans offered by the Government, in some cases in excess of $200 000.

“There is a trail of dodgy dealings left in the wake of this reform.

“Fishermen have had to buy their own businesses back, plummeting them into debt with the Government, while other speculators, including physiotherapist in Sydney who have probably never fished a day in their life, ended up with lucrative shares.

“At the very least there should an independent inquiry into how the Government conducted this reform,” said Mr Banasiak.