Deferring fees doesn’t help commercial fishers

Despite asking for an explanation on why commercial fishing and aquaculture sectors have only had their fees deferred, while charter boat operators have had them waived, Member for Frome Geoff Brock MP still hasn’t received an adequate explanation for the decision. 

Mr Brock raised a question in Parliament last week, asking Minister for Primary Industries and Regional DevelopmentTim Whetstone MP if he could explain the anomaly. 

“However, Mr Whetstone reiterated that the charter boat sector had had their fees waived because they had been impacted by closures due to the Pandemic, but did not offer a real explanation as to why the commercial fishing sector and aquaculture had not been treated equally with charter operators,” Mr Brock said. 

“All sectors have been impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions with a severe downturn in the fish and seafood industry globally. 

“The closure of restaurants and hotels, which have always been the major purchasers of these products, has had a significant impact on those who rely on fishing and aquaculture as their source of income. 

I cannot understand why fees have only been deferred, rather than waived, putting an even higher demand on financial resources, with a possibly crippling effect on an important sector.” 

Mr Brock calls on the State Government to review and revise its fee policy for the commercial fishing and aquaculture industry in South Australia as a matter of urgency. 

“The last thing this industry needs is to be hit with an accumulation of fees as they enter a recovery phase,” he said.