Withdrawal of Aquatic Resources Management Act a clear demonstration of the disdain shown to the fishing industry by the Cook Labor Government

Shadow Fisheries Minister, Colin de Grussa has expressed disgust and dismay at yet another slap in the face to our commercial and recreational fishing industries following the Cook Labor Government’s decision to scrap the Aquatic Marine Resources Management Act (ARMA).

The Government has had over 7 years to implement the ARMA and has now pulled the rug out from under this groundbreaking legislation.

“What is disturbing is that we have a Minister quick to blame the previous Liberal National Government for the Cook Labor Government’s ineptitude in gaining industry consensus on the implementation of the legislation” Mr de Grussa said.

For context, the original legislation was passed under the previous Liberal – National Government in November 2016, with broad political support. In March 2017, following the formation of the McGowan Labor Government, there were issues identified with the legislation that prevented its practical implementation.

Absolutely nothing happened in the McGowan Labor Government’s first 4 years in government to address these issues.

In 2021, the amendments required to resolve the issues with the original legislation were finally presented to Parliament by none other than the current Minister for Fisheries, the Hon Don Punch.

This is the same Minister who has just tried to lay sole blame for this fiasco at the feet of the previous Liberal National Government.

“If there were fundamental issues with the original legislation why were these not identified and addressed way back in 2017? Why did Minister Punch not sort this out when he introduced legislation to amend the Act back in 2021? Why did it take another 3 years for the Minister to come to the earth-shattering conclusion that the legislation was inoperable and should be repealed?” Mr de Grussa said.

“The only conclusion that can be drawn is that the fishing industry is not a priority for the Cook Labor Government, and we have a Minister incapable of negotiating outcomes that benefit all sectors of the fishing industry.

Mr de Grussa said that this is a Minister too busy drawing hard lines in the sand, as we saw with the botched implementation of the West coast demersal scale fish management arrangements and his complicity in the train wreck that is the South Coast Marine Parks planning process.