Donaldson Must Rule Out ‘Net-Free’ Zones

by Ted Sorensen

Donaldson Must Rule Out ‘Net-Free’ Zones: Frecklington

Fisheries Minister Leannne Donaldson has been challenged to rule out ‘net-free’ fishing zones along the Bundaberg and Fraser coasts that would hurt commercial fleets and destroy jobs.

Shadow Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister Deb Frecklington said attempts by Palaszczuk Labor to shore-up marginal seats with ‘net-free’ zones risked Queensland’s commercial fishing sector and local jobs in Bundaberg, Hervey Bay and Maryborough.

“Commercial fishers in those centres need surety from Minister Donaldson there’ll be no more ‘net-free’ zones,” Ms Frecklington said.

“Queensland’s commercial fishing industry is still reeling from Labor’s election-eve stunt this time last year of announcing three net-free fishing zones.

“The impact on supplies of fresh seafood, particularly barramundi and salmon is really biting and the longer-term impact on local fishing jobs is being felt.

“The commercial fishing sector is a major employer in Bundaberg, Hervey Bay and Maryborough, accounting for hundreds of local jobs and the Minister needs to provide certainty these jobs will not be destroyed like they’ve been in Rockhampton, Yeppoon and Mackay.”

Ms Frecklington said Labor’s ill-conceived ‘net-free’ policy was not based on any independent, scientific data as finally admitted by previous Minister Bill Byrne.

“The big fear for our commercial fishing industry is the policy will be further rolled-out as Leanne Donaldson tries to shore-up her own seat of Bundaberg and Maryborough, held by Bruce Saunders, both on wafer-thin margins of 1.6 per cent,” she said.

“Palaszczuk Labor and Leanne Donaldson need to recognise that having access to fresh, local seafood is very important to Queenslanders and visitors to Queensland, including those who don’t fish.

“They don’t want to be forced to eat imported seafood, especially farmed product from Asia where health and environmental standards can be dubious, at best.

“Only the LNP can be trusted to support our important primary industries and unleash Queensland’s potential.”

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