Legislative Council: Thursday, May 05, 2022


Marine Scalefish Fishery

The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI (Leader of the Opposition) (14:31): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development regarding the ministerial statement she made yesterday on the additional quota units in the marine scalefish fishery. Could the minister please advise which stakeholders the minister consulted before it was determined that the government would not appeal the SACAT ruling?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:31): I thank the honourable member for her question, but it does really indicate that she is under a misapprehension. The rulings were indeed appealed during the caretaker period. The outcomes of appeals of four cases from SACAT have now been made, and they include statements that indicate that former Minister Basham's decisions had no legal foundation. They also revealed that the pro-rata policy of former Minister Basham was unjust—resulted in unjust and unfair outcomes—and should not have been implemented.

So the mess that we are looking at, which someone has referred to as Basham's bungles, is absolutely outrageous. What it has meant for the industry, particularly those who have been affected by exceptional circumstances, is not only have they had to deal with those exceptional circumstances, such as in some cases severe ill health which means they didn't fish for a period, or perhaps a death of a partner, not only did they need to deal with those they then needed to deal with the way that they were outrageously treated by the former minister in terms of those circumstances being acknowledged, being accepted, but then them not getting their fair amount of quota afterwards.

I hope that the implication of the question is not that indeed we should be upholding an unfair and unjust outcome or that we should be upholding a policy which was found to have no legal foundation. If that, indeed, is the implication and suggestion by the Leader of the Opposition, then I think that is very disappointing.