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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

12 December 2000

Beattie Government Incompetence Threatens Trawl Fishery

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill said today that the only threat to the future of the East Coast Trawl Fishery is the incompetence of the Beattie government.

Senator Hill said comments made today by Queensland Minister Palaszczuk were a desperate attempt to blame the Commonwealth for Queensland's inability to manage the fishery.

"The Queensland government invited the Commonwealth to contribute to a $30 million structural adjustment scheme for the fishery - $10 million each from the Commonwealth government, the Queensland government and the fishing industry.

"Queensland has now unilaterally withdrawn that offer.

"The Commonwealth remains prepared to provide $10 million to a structural adjustment scheme if, as originally proposed by Queensland, the Queensland government and industry also contribute $10 million.

"Some four months ago I wrote to Premier Beattie specifying the requirements that need to be met before the Commonwealth provides $10 million. Mr Beattie has ignored these requirements.

"Firstly, I have made it clear all along that the management arrangements need to be fair and equitable to smaller family operators. Mr Beattie has failed to implement my requirements for such family operators.

"Secondly, I stated that 90% of the reduction in effort must come out of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. The Queensland proposal would see nowhere near 90% of the effort reduction occur in the World Heritage Area. Queensland has also failed to ensure that effort in Moreton Bay is not subsequently shifted into the World Heritage Area. "

Senator Hill said rather than trying to shift responsibility to the Commonwealth, the Queensland government might try explaining:

December 12, 2000

Contact: Belinda Huppatz 08 8237 7920 or 0419 258364

Commonwealth of Australia