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Darren Chester seeks jobs guarantee for Lakes Entrance community

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester says Canberra-based bureaucrats are ignoring Lakes Entrance community concerns over potential job losses due to new commercial fishing industry restrictions.

By news@gippsland - 26th September 2022 - Back to News

Mr Chester has raised his concerns directly with the responsible Minister and departmental officials, on behalf of fishing industry licence holders, onshore business owners and LEADA. "I have repeatedly stressed my concern that proposed licence buybacks will have significant socio-economic impacts and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) has admitted it has done zero research on this issue."

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester says bureaucrats are ignoring the Lakes Entrance community concerns about job losses due to new commercial fishing industry restrictions

Respect for local jobs

Mr Chester said, "There has been a complete lack of respect for local jobs during this entire process. AMFA can't even tell the fishermen how much of the $24 million allocated to the buyback will go to each licence holder and whether it will be done in a completely transparent manner."

"To make matters worse, there hasn't been a cent allocated to business owners in towns like Lakes Entrance directly impacted by the proposed closures." Mr Chester said.

Uncertainty on the proposal

Mr Chester said AFMA had sent a letter to LEADA saying people who lost their jobs could get mental health support or seek training opportunities at TAFE.

"It's an insult to our region that the best advice AFMA can provide on behalf of the Minister is to visit a mental health expert or do a new course if you lose your job as a result of these buybacks," Mr Chester said.

"There is significant frustration and concern among commercial fishermen with the uncertainty surrounding the proposed buyout and the likely impacts on their livelihoods and the township of Lakes Entrance." Mr Chester said.

Need for a thorough analysis

Mr Chester added, "The failure to simultaneously announce an onshore structural adjustment package in Lakes Entrance, despite the anticipated economic impact of the proposed licence buyback, remains a major sticking point.

"Local fishing business owners still have incomplete information upon which to base major financial decisions regarding the future of their businesses and their crews."

"There's a critical need for a thorough analysis and better understanding of the social, economic, environmental and cultural implications of AFMA's proposed actions prior to the proposed fishing ground closures and licence buybacks." Mr Chester said.

Pictures from Darren Chester MP website.


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