Legislative Council: Wednesday, October 19, 2022


RecFish SA

The Hon. R.B. MARTIN (14:43): My question is for the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Will the minister please update the chamber about the government's election commitment to reinstate RecFish SA as the peak body for recreational fishing in South Australia?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:44): I thank the honourable member for his question and his interest in this area. I am pleased that the Malinauskas Labor government has delivered on yet another election commitment, with the reinstatement of RecFish SA as the peak body for recreational fishers in South Australia. This commitment will see funding of $200,000 indexed every year over the next four years so that RecFish SA can provide a strong, independent voice for anglers and also play a constructive role within the community to grow recreational fishing as the healthy and fulfilling activity that we know it is.

While the new recreational fishing survey due in coming months will give us a better understanding of the numbers of South Australians participating in recreational fishing and their contribution to our state's economy, on last count, going back to the 2013-14 survey, there were an estimated 277,000 men, women and children who fished recreationally in South Australia, with an estimated economic contribution of more than $160 million. The latest survey that is soon to be completed should have been done during the term of the former government, in keeping with the five-year time frame of the surveys, but unfortunately that did not happen. However, our government is getting on with the job.

Of course, RecFish SA has previously been the peak body for recreational fishers in the state, until the former Liberal government ended their funding and created the MRFAC, which saw a range of resignations over its short time in operation. RecFish SA is a link to the public to share their thoughts and ideas, which subsequently are brought directly to government. It also plays an important role in providing advice to government on resource allocation, sustainability, infrastructure, participation, integrating recreational fishing further with regional tourism, and much more.

RecFish SA will be facilitating programs aimed at encouraging more women, children and multicultural communities to participate in recreational fishing. This has been identified as a priority that will give opportunities to those who may not have had them to learn how to fish in a supportive environment and also to learn about sustainability and the long-term future of our shared marine resources.

Importantly, as part of our election commitment, recreational fishing will now be considered an activity whereby eligible fishing clubs can apply for grant funding through programs run by the Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing. Minister Hildyard in the other place will work closely with RecFish SA and the club fishing sector to ensure there is awareness of these fantastic new opportunities to grow their clubs and support their members.

Once again, the Malinauskas government is very pleased to have delivered on this commitment to ensure a strong independent voice for the many thousands of recreational fishers in our state who are deeply passionate not only about fishing but also about maintaining sustainable resources so that their children and their children's children can fish in South Australian waters for many years to come.