Fisheries nets an extra $20M for biggest reforms in Queensland history
Treasurer Curtis Pitt and Fisheries Minister Bill Byrne have announced the Palaszczuk Government will invest an additional $20 million and hire 20 more Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol (QBFP) staff as part of the release of the Palaszczuk Government’s Sustainable Fisheries Strategy 2017-2020.
Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the $20 million boost over three years would be funded in this year’s Budget.
“This investment paves the way for Queensland to have a world class fisheries management system with serious structural reforms that supports many thousands of regional jobs,” Mr Pitt said.
“The current fisheries management system is cumbersome, costly, and inflexible and is not keeping up with community expectations.
“Our funding injection will deliver more compliance officers, more monitoring, better engagement and communication and more responsive decision-making.
“The Palaszczuk Government is delivering on its commitment to establish a world class fisheries management system for our state and that includes boosting the number of Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol officers by more than 20% from 89 to 109,” he said.
“We want Queensland fisheries to be sustainable, our commercial fishers to be productive and profitable and our recreational fishing experience to be second to none.”
Fisheries Minister Bill Byrne said it was the biggest fisheries reform in Queensland’s history.
“It will help shape our fisheries over the next 10 years and will ensure they are managed in a sustainable and responsible way for the benefit of all Queenslanders,” Minister Byrne said.
“The strategy outlines 33 actions to be delivered across 10 reform areas and sets targets to be achieved by 2020 and 2027.
“Some of the actions include harvest strategies for each fishery, satellite tracking on all commercial fishing boats, regionally specific fishing rules and using new technologies more effectively.
“The feedback from the public last year on our Green Paper on Fisheries Management Reform in Queensland indicated there was overwhelming support from the public for an increase in frontline compliance capability and we have listened and delivered.
“This strategy will help achieve this and will support the development of a modern, responsive and transparent system that is based on good monitoring and research.”
Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher announced that the Gladstone QBFP office would also be re-opened.
“Local anglers have said loud and clear that it is vital that fisheries officers are based in Gladstone to protect the long term viability of fish stocks and ensure compliance with regulations,” he said.
“Four of the 20 new officers will be based in Gladstone and they will focus on fisheries compliance activities, gathering intelligence to support prosecutions and educating the community about responsible fishing.
“It was disappointing to see the Gladstone QBFP office shut in recent years and many people have been asking me if it could be re-opened. Today the Palaszczuk Government has responded to it in the best way possible.”
“Gladstone has many passionate recreational fishers, and we have a significant commercial fishing fleet based here.
Minister Byrne said that the government did not support the introduction of a recreational fishing licence at this time.
“While many people support the idea, many others do not, and we are already collecting funds to support fisheries management through the existing recreational use fees collected through recreational boat registrations,” he said.
“The Sustainable Fisheries Strategy considered and responded to more than 11,800 submissions to the Green paper on fisheries management reform, which was released for comment in 2016.
“There is a lot of hard work ahead and we know many Queenslanders are just as passionate as we are about seeing a world class fisheries management system in place.
“These reforms will ensure healthy fish stocks that will support thousands of Queensland jobs and we are committed to a healthy fisheries future.”
Minister Byrne said the strategy delivered on a number of actions under the Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan, further demonstrating a lasting commitment to the Great Barrier Reef.
Fisheries Queensland will establish a number of working groups to engage with stakeholders on developing harvest strategies and regionally specific rules.
The 20 new QBFP officers will be allocated to the following regions:
o Far North Queensland: 3 officers (2 Port Douglas, 1 Cairns)
o North Queensland: 6 officers (3 Townsville, 2 Airlie Beach, 1 Mackay)
o Central Queensland: 5 officers (4 Gladstone, 1 Yeppoon)
o SEQ: 6 officers (3 Brisbane / Sunshine Coast, 1 Warwick, 1 Redlands, 1 Gold Coast)
Applicants can apply for positions now on the Smart Jobs website, www.smartjobs.qld.gov.au.
The recruitment process is expected to be finalised in September.
Copies of the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy are available now online at and to be part of visit www.daf.qld.gov.au or call13 25 23.