East Gippsland Shire Councillors have thrown their support behind Gippsland Lakes commercial fishing licence holders.
Cr Joe Rettino moved a motion to write to Minister for Fishing and Boating, Jaala Pulford, and Parliamentary Secretary for Jobs, Jane Garrett, seeking an economic stim- ulus and support package for the 10 licence holders who will be affected by the State Government’ s buy-out.
It is Cr Rettino’s belief the licence buy-out should be treated differently to those in Metropolitan areas.
“I used some independent re- search about the fairness with what was being put forward and I used our good friend, Google Maps. If you look at the other areas that have had commercial netting buy-outs, Corio Bay, Port Phillip Bay, Westernport, Google Maps says they are one hour and 40 minutes from Melbourne’ s CBD, interestingly Lakes Entrance is four hours and 24 minutes,” Cr Rettino said.
“To say that people can easily transition to other jobs, it doesn’t ring true for regional areas and particularly East Gippsland.
“This is a logical request to the relevant minister. In terms of economic development the loss of circulating monies or flow-on efffect, of this fishing licence buy-back is minus $3 to $4 for every $1 lost to the local community. In other words it is the reverse of when a job is created, but with the dire consequences of unemployment for those affected.
“Unemployment is a major life event. It has a devastating impact on people’s lives. It affects not just the unemployed person but also family members and the wider community. The impact of unemployment can be long lasting and devastating for a local town and regional economy.
“Apart from the personal impact, unemployment is a loss of valuable productive resources to our local economy. The significant and severe impact of job loss in rural and regional areas flows onto the local community damaging businesses as expenditure is reduced. Further damage to local communities will result from people leaving in search of work.
“There is another flow-on effect – kids being taken out of schools, etc.
“The stimulus and support pack- age sought in this notice of motion for our region should be similar to support received in other areas of Gippsland. It needs to include sup- port for the non-licence holders involved in the Gippsland Lakes commercial fishing sector, and sup- port is needed to assist affected individuals and their families’ transition to new career opportunities.”
Cr Rettino’ s motion was passed unanimously with strong backing from Lakes Entrance councillor, Dick Ellis.
“This is an issue of fairness. When the buy-back system works, it works well in heavily populated areas, but the more sparsely populated areas, such as the Gippsland Lakes and in particular Lakes Entrance, we suffer when jobs are taken away from their region,” Cr Ellis said.
“Council has been briefed on some of the frustrations and difficulties the Lakes fishermen have faced in relinquishing their licences and their lifestyles.
“I’m hoping this recommendation will go some way to letting them know that the shire and people of East Gippsland support these families and hopefully the government will respond in a favourable way to our community and our fishing families.”
Cr Marianne Pelz said it is important these families and the local community are supported during difficult economic times.
“To say the tourist industry is going to cut the mustard, well we’re still waiting for it to happen,” she said.
PICTURED: East Gippsland Shire Council will write to Minister for Fishing and Boating, Jaala Pulford, and Parliamentary Secretary for Jobs, Jane Garrett, seeking an economic stimulus and support package for the 10 licence holders who will be affected by the State Government’ s buy-out.