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$Millions promised if re-elected, says fisheries minister

AUSTRALIA - During a visit to Port Lincoln yesterday, Minister for Fisheries Eric Abetz promised $millions for the fishing industry if the Coalition government was re-elected. He also condemned the State Governments approach to the proposed marine parks.

The funding would include developing a $10 million national aquaculture strategy, establishing a $4 million environmental recognition fund, and expanding fuel tax credits to provide for a 100 per cent credit for petrol used in eligible commercial fishing and fish farming activities from July 1, 2008.

A 50 per cent credit for previously ineligible activities, including processing and refrigerating seafood onshore, would also be considered along side other beneficial industry policies, said the minister.

In an attack on the State Government’s minimal consultation for proposed marine parks, Mr Abetz said that those set up in Commonwealth waters off Australia’s south-east coast were applauded by recreational and commercial fishers. He was now “encouraging the State Government to follow our line” in creating parks, because it was proving successful.

Mr Abetz and Rowan Ramsey, the Liberal candidate for Grey, along with senators Grant Chapman, Cory Bernardi and Simon Birmingham, were in Port Lincoln to announce what their party plans for Australia’s commercial and recreational fishing sectors.