The Nationals WA have launched a petition calling on the Fisheries Minister to reconsider his closure of department shopfronts at five fishing hotspots along WA’s regional coast line.
Member for North West Central Vince Catania said the petition would be available in the five towns or online for anyone to sign.
“Our petition lets the McGowan Government know you and your community won’t settle for second rate services when it came to the administration, licensing and regulation of fishing activity,” he said.
“Closing over-the-counter services at Jurien Bay, Denham, Carnarvon, Exmouth and Karratha to save a few measly bucks when it could put our multi-billion dollar commercial and recreational fishing industries at risk is short-sighted.
“Community members along the coastline from Geraldton to Karratha have rightly reacted with concern and told me we need to get a petition going.
“Now community members, anglers and others who expect the McGowan Government to provide adequate resourcing to protect our valuable fisheries have the opportunity to oppose these silly shopfront closures.”
Earlier this month the Fisheries Minister conceded over-the-counter services would be stripped back as part of a “rationalisation” of the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, which now incorporates the former department of fisheries.
Under questioning in Parliament by Mr Catania, the Minster said services would be relocated to other DPIRD buildings or Community Resource Centres, both of which are scarce along the Mid West and North West coastlines.
The Nationals WA Fisheries spokesperson Ian Blayney said fisheries staff within DPIRD were relied upon for delivering customer service including maritime education, licencing transactions and management, regulation and compliance.
“Removal or reduction of fisheries’ footprint along this unique stretch of coastline is ridiculous in normal circumstances, let alone at a time when tourism, commercial and recreational fishing are increasing,” he said.
“Fishing is an important economic contributor to our State – worth more than $3 billion annually. The last thing needed is a reduction of fisheries staff, services and management capacity.
Mr Blayney said the McGowan Government had no credibility when it came to managing fisheries issues following the Minister’s botched Western Rock Lobster takeover plan.
Petitions are available at fishing and tackle stores and selected service stations in each of the five towns affected.
Alternatively download and print the petition online here.
For media enquiries please contact Vince Catania on 99412 999 or email firstname.lastname@example.org