Legislative Council: Wednesday, May 17, 2023


Fishcare Volunteers

The Hon. J.E. HANSON (14:54): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development about Fishcare volunteers. Will the minister inform the chamber about the important role Fishcare volunteers play as we celebrate National Volunteer Week this week?

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order! I call the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development.

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:55): I thank the honourable member for his question and, in particular, its relationship to National Volunteer Week, which is 15 to 21 May. It really is an opportunity for us all to take note, reflect and really extend our appreciation to volunteers in so many different ways.

I have certainly had the pleasure only today to speak on regional radio not just about Fishcare volunteers but about other volunteers within our communities who play such an important part, in particular in regional communities. The theme of National Volunteer Week this year is 'We are the change makers', which is a great way of thinking about what volunteers mean to us all, who benefit from volunteers' selfless dedication to the community and literally are making change from their desire to contribute to the greater good.

No matter what, who, or where volunteers dedicate their time and skills, this week is about recognising them and the fact that our communities will always be stronger for their efforts. One group of volunteers that I particularly want to highlight, given the question from the Hon. Mr Hanson, is PIRSA's Fishcare volunteers, who help to deliver fishing education to the public, often where it is needed most—by our waterways and all over the state—and it includes metropolitan Adelaide, the Riverland, Yorke Peninsula, Victor Harbor and the Limestone Coast.

Their important work revolves around delivering fishing education programs to the community and this is done in a number of different ways. Fishcare volunteers' tasks include giving advice and assistance to the public, educating recreational fishers about South Australian fishing rules and regulations, handing out information brochures and material and attending many community events all over the state, which can include field days, shows and fishing events.

Fishcare volunteers have accumulated over 83,350 hours of volunteer time since the project began, with more than 400 volunteers having participated in the program in its nearly 30-year existence. Indeed, of the 56 active Fishcare volunteers currently in the program, one has over 4,000 hours accumulated over 23 years. That's a fantastic achievement, nearly 174 hours a year, which equates to 3½ hours every week or, indeed, one could put it as four weeks' full-time hours a year for 23 years—just an incredible effort.

Undoubtedly, there are many examples of this kind of dedication over long periods in volunteering across all areas and this is just another aspect that makes them so special. Just recently, I had the pleasure of meeting a number of Fishcare volunteers at the RecFish SA Fishing Day at Happy Valley and also at the recreational fishing forum that is held in Wallaroo, with my colleague in the other place the Hon. Katrine Hildyard, as well as other events over the past year.

What strikes me, on meeting Fishcare volunteers, is that they are truly passionate about helping other people to enjoy fishing and to do so responsibly, so that future generations can continue to enjoy the incredible fishing opportunities that we have here in South Australia. I take this opportunity again to put on the record my sincere thanks to our Fishcare volunteers: their skills, knowledge and time are truly valued.

I wish all Fishcare volunteers, indeed all volunteers across all government and non-government agencies, a fantastic week. I hope you can take some time to reflect on your own achievements in making South Australia an even better place. Thank you.