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Ms FINLAY question to PREMIER, Mr ROCKLIFF:
The salmon industry presents Tasmania with an incredible economic opportunity. It is highly productive, primarily based in regional areas, it pays its workers great wages and it offers Tasmanians a diverse range of career opportunities.
You promised Tasmanians you would not impose a moratorium on the salmon industry. You said that to do so would cost jobs, but in another stunning broken promise, there is now a moratorium on the entire industry and, true to your prediction, we have seen salmon companies announce to their shareholders that they are ceasing new investments in Tasmania.
Ms O'Connor - Massive global corporations.
Mr SPEAKER - Order, Ms O'Connor.
Ms FINLAY - No new investment means no new jobs. With your moratorium due to expire soon, will you admit it has been a failure and today rule out making it permanent?
August 25, 2022 - 11:10am
Video - YouTube
Mr Speaker, this evening there is a theme of support for our incredible Tasmanian salmon industry.
My colleague, Mr Winter, has already spoken. Our parliamentary colleague from the North-West Coast, Mr Ellis, has just spoken about this great industry, following an 'I can stand and say anything in this place' sort of approach to undermining great Tasmanian industries. I was not expecting to speak on this. I have an adjournment speech on the amazing Waverly Mills prepared, but because of this and the contributions of my colleagues, Mr Winter and Mr Ellis, I am going to talk of our bipartisan approach to this industry.
I am going to invite Mr Ellis to do some work on his side based on the comments that he made. It is not a 10-year draft plan that was released today. It is a salmon industry plan. It has transitioned from a 10-year plan into an industry plan which is meant to be enduring and the best plan possible for the future of the industry. Although we all support this and we all see a great opportunity, it feels like the Government is reserved in its support for the industry and contained about what really is possible. Maybe it is trying to play the fence between people on the North-West Coast and people in Mr Ellis's electorate who can come out strongly in support of industry.
We have seen the Premier in some bizarre behavioral commentary about support for the industry. Perhaps they are playing that off against some of the other sectors in their support base who are not so supportive of the industry. You might do so some work internally, Mr Ellis, on questioning why the moratorium is still in place. Why on earth, for an industry that we all love and are proud of, that we know not only creates great job opportunities, it can, as you said, neutrally feed the world, did the Premier and Minister, whoever was the person who was motivated to put on a moratorium on our most successful industry? It is not only Tasmania's most successful aquaculture industry, but Australia's highest value industry for aquaculture. If you really believed in that, and truly backed the industry, you would not have placed a moratorium on the industry. You would not have retarded their opportunity to invest and grow. What you have done is signal to potential investors who could continue to back the great technology, research and development and innovation that happens, as you have said, right here in Tasmania, that is actually informing and being used right around the world, you stopped that happening. You have stopped hundreds of millions of dollars of investment right here in Tasmania because of the moratorium.
The 10-year plan that you referred to - which is in fact now a salmon industry plan that has been framed today to be the answer to the future of the industry - is a very limiting document that has a real focus on the past and seeks to just address the negativity in the community. Mr Winter has referred to another document released today. It was released with some information available from the Blue Economy CRC that was released last week, an ambition for what they call 'an ocean economy' - so, not just limited to salmon, or to aquaculture - saying the industry did not call for a new plan. It was actually in response to the community, all users of our ocean, whatever they may be, calling for an integrated response and an integrated opportunity to grow value in our ocean economy.
Having had access to this - I am sure the Government had access to this from last week as well, and they have only just released their plan today - they could have responded to this in a positive way. This document - The Blue Economy CRC: Ocean Economy and Vision - actually asks, what is the full carrying capacity of our oceans here - the oceans around Tasmania that are the gateway to the Pacific and Indian and Southern Oceans?
What is the full opportunity that Tasmania can create, not just in our localised salmon industry, but in our aquaculture industry and in the full economy of the oceans, where we could do more to lead research and development and innovation and technology, not just for use here in Tasmania, but be the global leader. What is it that Tasmania could do to be the global leader across aquaculture and other economic opportunities in our oceans from Tasmania?
When I read it on Friday afternoon, it seemed like this is exactly what our community is asking for. Our community is asking for a way to participate to build awareness, engagement, education and understanding to work together in our oceans, to say what is possible? What is the natural carrying capacity of our oceans, where we are all comfortable - subject to technology and innovation and further investment - to not be afraid and not step back from the opportunities for immense growth in this industry? I had a briefing on this ambition. I am going to invite you, Mr Ellis, to respond to this, or encourage your Government to act quickly on this.
One thing I was dumbfounded with in my briefing is that one of the very first things I did in this Parliament was participate in the legislation that moved through to allow the research in Commonwealth waters. I am not sure if you know, Mr Ellis, but your Government is so supportive of this industry that it has not even created a form where they can apply to do the research. We passed this legislation months ago. If this Government was truly committed and was truly backing this industry there would not be a moratorium. They would have the processes available for this research to occur, to address and respond to the community expectation that we can go into high-energy open water.
We can continue to grow to the full capacity available within our oceans. Like others in this place tonight, I was hoping to celebrate Waverley Mills. I was hoping to have a great conversation about another great industry and a fantastic growth opportunity in Tasmania. However, as a response to somebody standing up in this place and feeling like they can say anything and undermine the great opportunities for companies and for Tasmania to be showcased around the world, and to undermine jobs of Tasmanians, we have had to stand here and back in our industry. I encourage you, Mr Ellis, and I encourage other people in this place, to be real and strong about your support because all you are doing is retarding investment.
November 23, 2022 - 10:07pm
Video - YouTube