Media Statement released 18th March 2011 - Govt Raids Fishwise Community Trust Fund
The state government looks set to continue to raid the Fishwise Community Trust Fund to pay government salaries to the tune of over $160,000 in 2010/11.
The Fishwise Trust Fund was established to provide critical funding for research and community projects which support recreational fishing in Tasmania. Funds for the Fishwise Community Trust Fund are allocated from around $1.2 million worth of recreational marine fishing licences sold each year.
The state government first raided the Trust Fund for the 2009/10 year citing the Global Financial Crisis as the reason for the raid. TARFish objected to the Minister for Primary Industries about the reallocation of funds at the time and continued ministerial pressure for reinstatement of Trust Fund monies in the lead up to the state election in March 2010.
The Premier acknowledged the Global Financial Crisis had passed in early 2010 and gave the following commitment to Tasmania’s 125,000 strong recreational fishing communities “As a response to the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) $150,000 of this money was transferred to support fisheries management. A re-elected Bartlett Labor Government will restore this amount to the Trust Fund in the 2010/11 budget now that the GFC has subsided.”
Following release of the Fishwise Trust Fund Budget for 2010/11 by the government TARFish noted the funds had not been reinstated as per the commitment and at once contacted The Premier’s Department seeking an explanation. Following nearly 12 months of being referred backwards and forwards between The Premier’s Department, Treasury and the Minister for Primary Industries office the Fishwise Community Trust Funds have still not been reinstated and the government refuse to provide an answer.
The Minister for Primary Industries noted at the time the funds were first raided “an ongoing community grants program is not sustainable under this model at this time.” Due to the Ministers comments TARFish are deeply concerned that without reinstatement of the Trust Fund monies grave concerns are held for the continuation of important research and community projects that support recreational fishing across the state.
TARFish do not believe raiding Trust Fund monies is an answer to the state’s current financial problems and calls on the state government to immediately reinstate the funds.
Contact Mark Nikolai, Chief Executive Officer on 0403 868 004 or 1300 665 225 for further information.
TARFish is the independent, government recognised peak body looking after the interests
of recreational marine fishers in Tasmania.