Fee relief for commercial fishers welcomed

20 Dec 2023

Member for Narungga Fraser Ellis MP has welcomed today’s announcement that the State Government is to continue fee relief for commercial fishers unfairly impacted by the Marine Scalefish Fishery reform measures that were introduced last year.

“In Parliament on 20 October I called on the government to urgently address the unfair and unsustainable new licence fees commercial fishers were due to start paying from July next year and I am pleased today, that local fishers will be able to rest a little easier”, Mr Ellis said.

“The announcement that fee relief is set to continue for another three years alongside a new licence fee structure will sensibly give more time to transition after the unrest of the buy backs, allowing the industry to adjust to the fact there are fewer fishers contributing to a cost-recovery funding model that threatened to bill operators out of existence.

“Today, commercial fishers will be greatly relieved assistance is forthcoming”.

Mr Ellis said local commercial fishers were receiving notices of new licence fees that had increased by up to 400% which was naturally causing great distress, with one citing expected fees from 1 July to be $31,903 up from a current $5,940, and another fisher predicting a bill of $30,000, up from $7,000.

“The cost recovery burden was obviously being spread amongst too few, and it was feared the viability of the industry was in jeopardy”, Mr Ellis said.

“With the announced $1.55 million allocated to extend the fee support for MSF quota licence holders over the next three years, there is now time to look at options that move away from cost recovery for this valued primary industry that employs 275 people and is worth $32.8 million to our State’s economy.”